“I always think that the best way to know God is to love many things.” – Vincent van Gogh
I’ve been thinking about women a lot lately. Nothing to worry about, that’s fairly normal for me. Plus, the month of March includes International Women’s Day. We also saw the “Day Without Women” protest transpire this month. It got me thinking about Art Without Women. Frankly (and ironically), that’s almost unthinkable. Women have been the muse and subject matter of so many artists throughout the centuries that it would be impossible to consider the history of art without them.
Of course, in art, as in all other areas of society women have been objectified. But I believe art, for the most part, has helped to give a profound and significant image of women, one that reaches far beyond the superficial. There are countless examples of works that show women in so many facets: tender, strong, intelligent, fierce, graceful, vulnerable, soft, resilient, powerful, beautiful, compassionate and creative. All in all, art has served to present a true representation of the feminine spirit. As a man, I know art in its many forms has helped me to gain a greater appreciation for women in a society that still has a long way to go to reach full equality.
So, in praise and honor of women, I give you a gallery of images of women in art, some famous, some not-so-much. These are all simply of my choosing. I am sure there are better and more comprehensive lists and galleries than this. But I offer them as a part of my perspective.
A world without women would be a pathetic place. Art without women? Well, it would be even more pathetic still.
“I cannot help thinking that the best way of knowing God is to love many things. Love this friend, this person, this thing, whatever you like, and you will be on the right road to understanding Him better.” – Vincent Van Gogh
The saying goes: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. It also happens to be a dynamite way to re-educate yourself in art!
About 25 years elapsed between the time I graduated from Calvin College with a Fine Arts Degree to when I began to seriously make art again. I had dabbled in things, of course. I drew cartoons, did the occasional artwork for some church event, whipped out a drawing for my kids to color, etc. but to actually sit down and draw for drawing sake… it had been a loooooong time. So I set about putting myself through some basics of art education. One of my favorite things to do was look up famous portraits by the masters and attempt to copy them. Now “copy” sounds like I was sharpening my forgery skills. No – I was looking at the Greats in order to teach myself more about color and form, the use of line and shade, and all those things that flow so much better when you haven’t been NOT doing art for a loooooong time! I wasn’t trying for exact replicas and was using cheap oil pastels and pencil crayons on lousy paper. Basically they were ramshackle sketches of masterpieces. But I enjoyed the process and the results gave me confidence to create again.
Here is a gallery of of my Sincere Flattery and my sincere attempt to get my Art-Jones back again! It probably goes without saying but the original is on the left! And if you want to know the artist and artwork, the caption is supposed to pop up when you put the cursor on the portrait (at least it did for me – sorry if it doesn’t work for you). All of my copies are done in oil pastels with some pencil crayon touches. The one just below was done with a $2 set of pastels from a teacher’s supply store! Enjoy.