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Images of Women in Western Art

ARTH 220

Spring, 2010

 Monday, 5:00- 7:30; FAC 224.

Dr. Allen Farber, Associate Professor
303 Fine Arts Center (436- 2558); E-Mail: FARBERAS

Web page:

Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 9:00-10:00 and Wednesday, 10:00-12:00, or by appointment. Notes can be left in my mailbox in 222 FAC, or messages can be left through Voice-Mail at 6-2558. I would also encourage you to communicate with me over E-Mail.

Course Format:

I am intending to conduct this class as a seminar. For this to be successful all students will need to come to class prepared and having given thoughtful consideration to the assignments.

50% of your grade will be based on responses in a journal and class participation. For each web page you have been asked to consider, I would like to have a response. On many of the web pages I am constructing for this course, I will put in bold journal or journal assignment. I expect you to respond to the questions or topics associated with these. I plan to use these responses as the basis of our class discussions. It is therefore critical that you keep up with these and be prepared to respond. To get discussion going, I will feel justified in calling on you to give your response. I would also encourage you to use your journal as a place to raise questions about the material covered in the assignments and a place to raise different perspectives.

The other 50% of your grade will be based on an approximately 10 page term paper. This will be on a topic of your own choice that you have developed in consultation with me. As implied by the name "term paper", I expect you to be working on this paper over the course of the whole semester, and not just crammed into the week before the paper is due. To achieve this I want to follow a calendar of deadlines.

Monday, Feb 15
Select Topic: you are expected to have met with me before this date to discuss potential topics. By this date, we should have settled on a single topic.
Monday, March 15
Submit to me an abstract and bibliography. This is a critical date since it is important for you to establishment a specific direction and focus for your paper. In this abstract you will articulate your thesis for your specific topic.
April 26 and May 3
Student Presentations of their research papers.
Monday, May 10
Deadline for turning in Term Paper.

For questions related to format and style for your term paper, see Purdue Online Writing Lab. I would encourage you to follow the MLA Format since this is the standard for most Art History journals.

Topics for Classes

Rather following a chronological format to cover the content of the course as is more traditional in Art History surveys, I want to take a topical approach within which case examples will be taken from different historical contexts. What follows is a tentative list of topics. I emphasize tentative since this is the first time I have taught this course and I want to be able revise the course as we go along.

January 25
Introduction: Introductory images.
February 1
Looking and the Gaze: Case examples: Read the excerpts from the essay by Dale Kent "Women in Renaissance Florence" which is included in the exhibition catalog entitled: Virtue and Beauty. Also read the excerpts from Patricia Simons's article "Women in Frames: The Gaze, the Eye, the Profile in Renaissance Portraiture." Mary Garrard's article "Leonardo da Vinci: Female Portraits, Female Nature."
February 8

A Room of My Own: Race, Class, Gender and the construction of Social Space; Griselda Pollock, Modernity and the Spaces of Femininity; Gender and Class in the Très riches heures.[The following are supplemental readings: Christine de Pizan and Establishing Female Literary Authority and a Gallery of Images ; Representations of Intimacy. ]

February 15:
The (Female) Nude in Western Art: The Female Nude; The Venus of Willendorf, the Aphrodite of Knidos, the Venus of Urbino, Olympia, and The Plan. Read Nanette Solomon, "The Venus Pudica: Uncovering Art History's 'Hidden Agenda" and Pernicious Pedigrees."[distributed in class]. (Polykleitos) (Images for Class 1)
March 1

The (Female) Nude in Western Art (continued): We will focus primarily on the Venus of Urbino, Olympia, and the The Plan. Reread the relevant material.

March 8

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters: The Female and the Monster: Greeks and the Other: Images of Temptation in the Art of Hans Baldung; Hélène Cixous, "The Laugh of Medusa."; Gender and Sexuality in European Art from the Late Nineteenth to the Early Twentieth Centuries

March 15

Heroic Rape and the Female Hero: Examination of any of the traditional surveys of Western Art reveals that a good number of the "masterpieces" of sixteenth and seventeenth century art focus on the subject of rape. In a web-page entitled Authoritative and Disciplined Discussions of Masterpieces, I have included excerpts from some of these surveys discussing some of these images of rape. Read these texts and consider how the art historian deals with or does not deal with the subject of rape. These images have been reexamined from a feminist perspective. Read Yael Even, "The Loggia dei Lanzi: A Showcase of Female Subjugation," Woman's Art Journal, 12, 1991, pp. 10-14 (Download from JSTOR). Read the excerpt from the article by Margaret D. Carroll entitled "The Erotics of Absolutism: Rubens and the Mystification of Sexual Violence" and from the book by Diane Wolfthal entitled Images of Rape: the "Heroic" Tradition and its Alternatives. Artemisia Gentileschi in her paintings of Susanna and Judith presents images of the female hero.

March 22
Encounters with Foreign (Ex/rotic) Bodies Amerigo Vespucci 'Discovering' America; Orientalism (Read Linda Nochlin, "The Imaginary Orient" , handout); Orientalism and the Abu Ghraib pictures. For an alternative, see the Iranian artist Abelina Galustian. See article on the Huffington Post and the artist's website Womansword. Gauguin. Explore the series of related Webpages dedicated to Gauguin developed by Princeton Undergraduate students.
March 29
Gender in the Art Museum: Museum Entrance (read handout of Carol Duncan, "The Art Museum as Ritual" ; Zoffany's Tribune of the Uffizi ; MoMA's Hot Mamas.
April 12
The Fashioning of the Female Artist: Linda Nochlin, "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists,"; Case Examples: Sofonisba Anguisola; Judith Leyster and Artemisia Gentileschi; Eighteenth Century Women Artists; Frida Kahlo
April 19
Class will not be held today. See me in preparation for student presentations.
April 26
Student Presentations
May 3
Student Presentations Perseus
May 10
The Male Body: Man the Measure of Things ; Donatello's David; Susan Bordo, The Male Body; Abigail Solomon-Godeau, Male Trouble: A Crisis in Representation

Recommended movies to see in conjunction with ARTH 220.