Essay about How Have Female Figures Played a Role in Art History

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Throughout history female figures have played an important role as subject matter. The female figure is very subjective, as peered through the different lenses of varying cultures. The status and functions of women in these cultures are the primary factors that influence how they are portrayed in art of a certain culture. However, the female figure itself through its natural and inherent iconography represents fertility and the importance of women in society. This natural iconography creates certain parallels in content between all works that use the female figure as subject matter. This varying subjectivity of a female’s status based on an artist’s culture will create differences in content and themes; however some aspects remain similar …show more content…
In the Venus of Willendorf created in the paleolithic period the female subject is primarily a symbol of fertility and life. This subject was obviously important culturally because hundreds were made and at such an early time in human history, life and fertility was treasured beyond any kind of current standard. The sculpture is of a woman with a large stomach that overhangs but does not hide her pubic area. She has large breasts, emphasized female genitalia, and lot of fat. All of these are symbols of fertility and life. In these early hunter-gatherer societies, the role of women was to gather or supply a large amount of the food supply. This cultural institution parallels the fat of the Venus as she is obviously comfortable with her sustenance situation. Food being one of the most important facets of life is a necessity for this statue that is meant to represent life. Her emphasized genitalia and breasts are also symbols of life and fertility as they are used for procreation and child rearing, another role performed exclusively by the women. The Venus was used as subject matter to show the function and importance of women in paleolithic culture. All three of these artworks happen to be statues of very important revered and religious figures. They all reflect their cultures in the idiosyncrasies of the content in each. They represent their cultures primarily