Women artists produced and constructed their self-portraits by painting how they felt, how they viewed themselves, and how they wanted to be seen by others in the same way that mirrors reflect themselves. They fashioned their artistic identity in an ingenious and unique style portraying themselves as well talented and skilled in the field of artistic work. Similarly, some of their portraits revealed their desirable actions to the bad treatment they received from men, such as sexual harassment as Judith portrayed in her paintings. This reveals their boldness and lack of hesitation in fighting for their rights and place in society, should they be subjected to unjust practices. However, through this journey, women artists were constantly subjected to various social pressure, which motivated them to create self-portraits. For instance, they were under pressure to defend their place in society and prove to their male counterparts that apart from domestic activities, they had talents and skills that they could use to enhance their wellbeing. Finally, they were motivated to explore concepts and topics in their artwork by experimenting with various compositions that had an underlying significance.
The women artists were different from the male artists in various ways. They were focused on fighting for their rights, increasing their value, and using their artworks while their male counterparts were focused on developing their talents and improving their skills. The majority of artworks were created by men. Women were often undervalued in the world of art (Kelly-Gadol, 1977). Because it was a male-dominated period, female artists who ventured in artwork were not welcomed.
In this image, Christine paints herself writing a book, in a wider architectural environment framed by a circular arch. She uses two images to show her pressure to explore concepts and topics in the artwork and demonstrate her desire to record them in books (Kelly-Gadol, 1977). In the first image, she paints a dog by her side, showing the disruptions and lack of respect that they receive from men when they explore their dreams. In the other image, she portrays herself alone, closely showing her work progress. This reveals women’s boldness and lack of hesitation in fighting for their rights and place in society.
In this scene, Anguissola sofonisba, who is depicted playing piano with a focus on the viewer, is portrayed as a creative and ingenious woman, who fights for their rights in unique ways. She knows, that she is not masculine but, she depicts the true picture of creative women who can craft their ways to “play ball with the masters”. Similarly, she paints the image of Mary and presents herself in a sexy fashion. In this way, she employs a creative way to challenge society’s perspective of women as sex tools. This shows that women were undergoing various sexual harassment. And in response sends a message to women to innovate new techniques to face this challenge.
This is an image of Gentileschi beheading Holofernes. This demonstrates how motivated women were to fight against the oppression they got from men. This blood-ridden scene provides a more striking reflection on the women’s boldness to face their fears. The painting reflects Gentileschi’s sexual assault and the difficulties that women of her age faced in society. In this image, Gentileschi projects herself in a unique and ingenious scene of powerful women, exacting revenge to ensure their position and value in society.
This image presents Elisabetta wounding her thigh. It justifies the argument that clarifies women portraying themselves as bold women who are working to change the perspective of society. It highlights the breakthrough in depicting the courageous in a calm, virtuous pose (Kelly-Gadol, 1977). Similarly, the image indicates that women were not weak, and disadvantaged as they are depicted in the renaissance. It embodies their unique and ingenious skills and talent in fighting for their rights. Thus creating a difference with men who were only focused on developing their skills and talents. This shows that the women and men of this age had different objects, but were using the same instruments to achieve them.
Kelly-Gadol, J. (1977). Did women have a Renaissance? (pp. 174-201). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.