Don't send us back to venus! -(Chelsea dano)

Focusing on women from the 1400s to 1600s we have compiled here some interesting works that exemplify how varied the female psyche can be. Some of these works portray murderous damsels, others may be a tad bit  humorous. I chose each of these because I feel like each piece has something to be heard about femininity, & how it has been portrayed.

Venus and Cupid, Artemesia Gentileschi, 1625/1630, From the collection of: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Here You can see Venus and Cupid painted by Gentileschi. Venus is laying on her bed quite comfortably with a silky looking linen wrapped around her. As she lays in her bed comfortably Cupid tickles he with feathers. She looks fairly pleased with her state. This painting is suggesting that Venus has fallen in love.
Judith and Holofernes, Artemisia Gentileschi, 1620 - 1621, From the collection of: Uffizi Gallery
Here is a gory depiction of the story about Judith when she beheaded Holofernes. It's hard to imagine how insanely angry she had to have been to behead a man simply because of him wanting her for his own. The woman aiding Judith is one of her servants. This exemplifies a woman at her worst.
Jael and Sisera, Artemisia Gentileschi, 1620, From the collection of: Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
Here You can see Jael driving a tent rod into Sisera's head after he has been welcomed into her tent, & had fallen asleep. Sisera being a war lord, I imagine, was responsible for wrong doings, & incited the rage of Jael. It's also possible that he was deemed by Jael as an enemy that needed to be obliterated. Her courage & treason was frowned upon by doing so, since she was supposed to be on the same side.
Susanna and the Elders, Artemisia Gentileschi, 1649/1649, From the collection of: Moravian Gallery in Brno
Susanna & the Elders was the first work that Artemisia completed that was well known of. It has a feminist undertone since it's inspired by a scene in the bible that which poor Susanna ends up getting sexually assaulted. Gentileschi being younger when she painted this surely could identify with the plight of being female- she probably experienced some discrimination for being a talented female artist in the 1600s.
Three Women Bathing, Sebald Beham, 1548, From the collection of: National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
This Piece by Sebald Beham Depicts three women helping each other bathe. It's less of a bath, & more like just rinsing off after scrubbing with some soap. Communal bathing wasn't as uncommon as what we see today. This picture is showing a lighter, more delicate & nurturing side to femininity.
Death and Three Nude Women, Sebald Beham, 1500/1550, From the collection of: National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
The first thing that You can see that stands out in Death and Three Nude Women is the three figures of women that to me represent the current, & possibly fertility as well. But ultimately death is tied into this work too. This work leaves me with the impression that women in the 1500s were left under quite a bit of scrutiny about modesty. It's possible there was quite a bit of religious prosecution just for behaving like a human being.
An Old Woman ('The Ugly Duchess'), Quinten Massys, about 1513, From the collection of: The National Gallery, London
There's an interesting contrast between this woman's effeminate clothing and her masculine appearance. The pattern on her clothing, & the head dress is indicative of her status, she may have a higher status than many. At first glance I wanted to laugh at this one, but I can't help but wonder if it's Quinten's intention to make one take a second look at one's imposed beliefes about what's idealistic of femininity.
Mythological Scene, Dosso Dossi (Giovanni di Niccolò de Lutero) (Italian (Ferrarese), about 1490 - 1542), about 1524, From the collection of: The J. Paul Getty Museum
In this piece that's called Mythological Scene By Dosso Dossi there is a fair maiden laying among others that are joining in festivities. Every one in the fore ground appears to be having a merry ole time, while little cupid's cast love spells in the back ground. The fruit hanging from this tree is suggestive in a religious nature. This piece could be making a statement that's paralleling the garden of Eden maybe? The man is pointing and laughing possibly because he ate the forbidden fruit & recognizes her nakedness?
Salome with the Head of Saint John the Baptist, Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1530s, From the collection of: Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
Here you can see an extremely fair woman, young and beautiful. The neatness of the contrast between her cherry red lips & her white skin is nice. How placid her expression is can give you the chills since she is bearing the severed head of Saint John on a plate.
Charity, Workshop of Anthony van Dyck, 1599/1641, From the collection of: Dulwich Picture Gallery
Here you can see a piece called Charity. Could the very title of this one be representative of the fact that this mother spends every waking moment devoted to her three young children? The expression on this woman's face is overwhelmed, & maybe even fore lorn. The piece calls to attention a mother's quality of patience & ability to nurture.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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