This exciting course explores both the depiction of women in art and the experience of female artists from antiquity to the present day through an introduction to feminist art history. Using case studies as diverse as Neolithic sculptures of goddess archetypes to contemporary video art and site visits to London’s world-class collections, the course addresses the way in which art history has framed women as well as discussing the historical constraints on women artists and the way in which these have been challenged and questioned.
During the first week, students will examine representations of women by both male and female artists across a wide chronological period; from Renaissance matriarchs to sanctified Madonnas and representations of Venus and Eve. It will look in depth at topics such as the depiction of the female nude, images of motherhood, queens and the politics of race. Lectures will be supplemented by visits to key institutions such as the Royal Academy and the National Gallery.
The second week focuses on the 20th and 21st centuries, looking at forgotten and undervalued women involved in the major movements of modernism as well as an in depth consideration of the feminist art movement of the 1970s and lectures on contemporary Russian and Asian art and women artists and film. Guest speakers from the Government Art Collection and the Contemporary art Society will discuss gender and curating. and sessions will consider debates about censorship and collections in light of developments in gender politics at large.