Throughout history, artists have portrayed women in numerous ways, either good or bad, depicted as beautiful goddesses or having no significant persona. The representation of the female in an artwork usually varies from society’s influence on the artist during the time it was made. For instance, Birth of Venus was produced in Florence Italy, during the Renaissance Period, an era of ‘rebirth’ after the fall of the Roman Empire. Created by Sandro Botticelli; an Italian painter, the artwork was painted on a 172.5 x 278.5cm tempera canvas. Another representation of the female is also found in Fowling in the Marshes that is a historic piece of Egyptian Artwork painted by the tomb-chapel of Nebamun, a middle-class man. Produced in Thebe Egypt in around 1350 BC, the artwork was painted on the walls of Nebamun’s tomb with a size of 98 x 83cm. Within both artworks, the women were depicted quite diversely. This is due to the historical period of time that the artwork was made, causing these two society’s’ to have cultural, traditional and differentiating beliefs, customs and attitudes regarding the female.
Although during the Renaissance Period, Christianity was dominant in society and in artworks, they were also educated on historical myths from the Roman Empire, their past era. The Birth of Venus is an example of an artwork being based on classical myths and is also one of the most famous artworks’ produced. Overall, this piece of art was produced to tell a story, portray an idea, to depict the beauty of women during that period of time. On the other hand, Religion was a very important factor for the lives of ancient Egyptians. They believed in the idea of life after death. As painting was very common for the wealthy Egyptians, many painted or were painted in order to create a lasting memory and be remembered by society when they passed on. Fowling in the Marshes is an example of that.
The ‘Birth of Venus’ is an artwork that easily captures the theme of love, birth and beauty of women during the Renaissance period. As women were seen as beautiful givers of life and were very important to society, by portraying Venus, also known as the goddess Aphrodite as the central figure, the themes are further supported. In contrast to Renaissance, not much can be stated on the female representation in the late 18th Dynasty of Egypt. However in the Fowling of the Marshes, the women such as the wife and daughter of Nebamun were drawn in a much smaller scale than the man. This portrays the idea that the significance of women was much lower when compared with a man. In general, the era of Botticelli was an era in which women were highly important beings and during the period of Nebamun, women were mostly recognised as nothing more than a wife who bears children.
There are a number of signs and symbols placed within the painting from both Renaissance and Egyptian periods, which reflect the cultural society of both those times. As for Venus, her nudity symbolises purity, innocence that a newborn child would possess. Also, by modestly covering her private parts from the people, she is not seen as a sexual symbol however this gesture is quite ironic as this signifies the idea that she is a virgin