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Discuss the Role of Women as Represented in Art, Photography or Advertising Through Comparison and Contrast of the Work and Intentions of at Least Three Artists from Different Time Periods. What Role Did Men Play During

  • Date Submitted: 08/12/2011 12:56 AM
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Question no. 5
'Men act, woman appear', Berger wrote.  Discuss the role of women as represented in art, photography or advertising through comparison and contrast of the work and intentions of at least three artists from different time periods. What role did men play during the period being discussed, and how were they represented? At least one of the artists discussed should be contemporary; discuss changes in representation of women, and why. 

According to John Berger “men act and women appear”.   He believed that the essential use to which womens image are put, has not changed, he went on to state that “the ‘ideal’ spectator is always assumed to be male and the image of the women is designed to flatter him” (Berger, 1972, pg 64). The above statement and general context of the female and male society has greatly developed throughout the years. The development and changes will be examined through the paintings of Impressionists Edouard Manet and Edgar Degas, the active female viewpoints of photographer Cindy Sherman and art activist the Guerrilla Girls and finally the current advertising campaign of Calvin Klein underwear 2009.

It can be said that Artists and artworks up until and within the modern art period largely epitomized the statement of Bergers that “men act and women appear”. Berger went on to state that from around the 17th Century painting of women and nude women in particular were reflective of women’s submission, to ‘the owner of both woman and painting’ (Berger, 1972, pg 49). The impressionist movement is one to mention in relation to Bergers statement. The 19th century art movement was one of the first radical movements to break the rules of academic painting. The perception of the impressionists was to create something entirely original and challenging. However, throughout works by Manet and Degas the implicit conformation of the stereotypical views endorsing the conservatism of the epoch is highly evident (Monnier 2004:3).   The artworks...

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