Throughout history, countless women have been involved in the artistic processes of the world. Women have curated, critiqued, and contributed to various art forms around the world, as well as modeled for all manner of famous artists, from Titian to Leonardo da Vinci. Even more so in the last one hundred years, the crusade for women’s equality across all aspects of life by feminist movements worldwide has given women more of a voice and a much more visible impact on art history and production.
While the artistic history of women is still quite new, the impact of women on art has been felt throughout the centuries as many have been drawn to paint and capture images of women as their models. Here are fifteen paintings around the theme of women in art, produced over many years by many famous artists.
A painting produced in 1856, Madame Moitessier was painted by the French artist Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. It was said that when he was first approached to produce a portrait of Madame Moitessier that he was taken in by her beauty. As such, he produced a number of portraits of her, where the first versions of his paintings in 1851 show her standing upright instead of seated.
Another artwork produced by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Grand Odalisque was made in 1814. Featuring a naked woman, the artwork by the artist faced a significant amount of critique from both the wider public and his critics when it was first exhibited due to its revealing nature. Other names that this famous painting goes by are Une Odalisque and La Grande Odalisque.
3.Virgin of the Rocks
A painting produced sometime in the period between 1483 to 1486, Virgin of the Rocks is a famous artwork produced by Leonardo da Vinci. Although it is a painting that is strikingly like the work known as Madonna of the Rocks, there are a number of details that have been painted significantly differently. This painting is on display in The Louvre in Paris, France.
4.Venus of Urbino
This famous artwork titled Venus of Urbino was produced by the artist Titian in the year 1538. This work of art was reportedly commissioned by the Duke of Urbino, Guidobaldo II Della Rovere. It is said that the duke wanted to give the painting as a gift to his wife as part of the celebration of their marriage together.
Produced by the well-known artist Leonardo da Vinci, Annunciation was painted between the years of 1472 and 1475. da Vinci painted the artwork using his own hand and skills at the workshop of his artistic master Andrea del Verrochio.
6.Diana and Actaeon
Another famous artwork by Titian, Diana, and Actaeon was produced between the years 1556 to 1559. The painting was purchased from the Bridgewater Collection for a huge sum of fifty million euros by the National Galleries of London and Scotland. Diana and Actaeon can be viewed at the National Gallery in London.
An artwork produced by the artist Edouard Manet, Woman Reading was created during the year 1879. The scene depicted within this painting shows a fashionably dressed woman sitting at an outside café reading a book. Woman Reading was purchased in the year 2000 by the Art Institute of Chicago.
8.Ginervra de’ Benci
Leonardo da Vinci certainly produced many great works of art during his lifetime, and yet another in the theme of woman is Ginervra de’ Benci. The artist produced this work of art between the years 1474 and 1478. da Vinci paintings are a rare artwork to behold in the United States of America, but Ginervra de’ Benci is one of the ones publicly shown at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
Produced in 1922, Cabaret Scene is a painting on the theme of women made by the artist Salvador Dali. Like many of Dali’s works, this painting is produced in his Cubism stylistic influence and as a result, Cabaret Scene is known as the most famous Dali painting. A private collection at Francois Petit in Paris, France has this painting in their collection.
This painting titled The Gleaners was produced in the year 1857 by the artist Jean François Millet. It’s known that the Gleaners was a manufacturing company, and it is often believed that Millet derived the name of this artwork from said company. The scene in the painting depicts a group of women gleaning the grains of wheat.
11.When Will You Marry
A question many a parent asked their children back in that era (and even today), When Will You Marry was a painting produced by Eugene Henri Paul Gaugin in the year 1892. This painting can be viewed in Washington D.C. at The Phillips Collection. This and other well-known paintings of the famous French painter were sold to the Emir of Qatar for three hundred million dollars.
12.The Birth of Venus
The Birth of Venus is a famous nude painting produced by the artist Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi. This artist, otherwise known as Sandro Botticelli, produced the painting sometime around the 1480’s, towards the end of the 15th century. The artwork is one of the very first non-religious themed nude paintings in history.
13.The Wheat Sifters
A painting produced by Gustave Courbet in 1854, this painting called The Wheat Sifters shows a group of women working to sift wheat. This artwork boasts some similarities with another famous painting titled The Young Ladies of the Village. The Wheat Sifters can be viewed at Nantes in France at the Musee des Beaux-Arts de Nantes.
First produced in 1873, this is a painting by the famous Edouard Manet. This painting is titled The Railway and a model by the name of Victorine Meurent was the first choice of model for Manet for this painting. This was also the model’s last depiction by Manet, and she also featured in his works Olympia and Luncheon on the Grass.
15.Coronation of the Virgin
A painting produced by the artist Fra Angelico, the Coronation of the Virgin painting was produced in the year 1432. Many prominent artists produced works featuring the subject of this painting, making it one of the most common subjects from the 14th to the 18th century. The painting is displayed for viewing at the Uffizi Gallery in the city of Florence, Italy.
No doubt you have seen that none of the artworks above have been produced by women. History very often favored men, but now, in this very day and age, we live in a period where women of all the world are free to participate in the critique, creation, and curation of art. No more are women relegated to simply being models for famous artworks, but women can be and are active participants in the arts. It is even more important, therefore, that we seek and be on the lookout for the incredible woman artists of our day and age and support them in their endeavors. Also, check out Why Is Mona Lisa Painting So Famous?