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Women's Studies
WMST 2000

Guerilla Girls Chapter 1: - Classical world class in its attitudes toward women  could not participate in famous Greek “democracy” - Histories of Western art have often begun with Greece & Rome- their art was originator of all later art o Western canon, set of rules against which all must measure up, begins with classicism - Ancient Greece was rigidly stratified - Only men could be citizens (vote, own estates, property or livestock) - Stuck in the class born into & could move only by vote of citizens delivery o Women of all classes considered inferior  even wives of citizens - Art & artists not important in Greek social structure not intelllectual activity - Things were looser in Rome: was a vast empire with more centralized laws & some women were allowed to be educated - Homosexuality between women considered adultery but okay for men (love between older mentors & young males considered highest form of friendship) - Problem with identifying art by women in ancient world not much has survived - Were women artists in Greece & Rome but will never know how many or what race o Vases & reliefs that depict women painters & records of women heading workshops (sculptures, painting etc) - Pliny the Elder named 6 women painters in his Natural History o Said Iaia of Cyzicus earned more money for her work than male contemporaries o No known examples of work by any of the women - An important 4 century B.C Greek wall painting Alexander the Great Confronts Darius III at the Battle of Issus attributed to a women: Helen of Egypt - Boccaccio wrote an illustrated book On Famous Women  described women from history and mythological women as if both were real Chapter 2: - In classical civilizations, women were the virtual prisoners of the men in their lives - Medieval women tok part in almost ever aspect of public life –became writers, nuns, artists, merchants & ran kingdom when husbands were at war - Art in middle ages became didactic tool of the church  many arts flourished (religious objects, illuminated manuscripts, tapestries etc by artists in guilds, collective workshops & religious communities) o Hard to attribute specific work to artists because few signed their work Bayeux Tapestry - One of the most important medieval art objects surviving to present day (over 200 ft long) o Made entirely by women needleworkers - Embroidery tells story of the conquest of England by Norman king William the Conqueror o Its subject is secular not religious (unusual for its time) - Scholars all agree it was embroidered by women  unique in subject matte & style - One scholarly book on tapestry ignores women who executed it & assumes a single male genius designed it Hildegard Von Bingen (german nun) - Nuns wrote books on medicine, science & sacred music - Many claimed to have mystical visions which god spoke directly to them o Had artists illustrate them - Mystical experiences praised by male clergy b/c represented emotional, nonrational side of female sex gave nuns an important voice - Nuns visions started to contain warnings against sin& corruption in priesthood o Convents shut down Background story: - Age 8 sent by parents to a convent in Germany - Already seeing visions - Ag4 40 recorded her visions in her first book Scivias (Know the Ways) - Put off writing the book b/c of “doubt & erroneous thinking” o Had many illnesses & decided to start writing  received strength to rise out of her bed - Worked on book for 10 years  presented 35 mystical experiences - Set part of Scivias to music, wrote 63 hymns, 2 more books, book on medicine etc - Some modern men of medicine attribute her visions to severe migraines - Her writing urged Christians to lead more spiritual life & nuns/priests to uphold vows book shown to Pope and was given his blessing making her famous - Near the end of her life was placed on house arrest in her abbey b/c independent ideas infuriated Church Higher-ups - Last vision: 2 streams of light appeared in sky & crossed over the room which she lay ill Christine Pizan - First women known to have made her living as a writer in Middle Ages & single mom - Educated by her father & married at age 15 to enlightened man –encouraged her learning - Widowed at 25 w/children & no inheritance (taken by brothers) - To make money: became a copyist of other written works, then bega
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