I have just returned from Florence,
what a fantastic city, the architecture leaves one with
a sustained feeling you have just returned to the 16th Century. Art abounds, but one is left with a question, why so few women artists.
It was the fine art tradition of painting that art historian Linda Nochlin had in mind in 1971 when she asked her famous question, “Why have there been no great women artists?"
Examination of the ancient roots of philosophy of art reveals a gendered value structure that persists to this day.
Like most of the terms that refer to major conceptual anchors of the western intellectual tradition, its origins may be traced to classical antiquity.
Art as mimetic
Art's aim has been since antiquity to reproduce the look of an object or that express an idea in narrative or drama. Sculpture imitates the human form, for instance; music imitates sounds of nature and voices or—more abstractly—human emotions. Drama and epic poetry imitate lived events. That art’s nature is to be mimetic was widely assumed for centuries, and most commentators, including Aristotle, extolled the ability of the mimetic artist to capture with beauty and skill some truth about life and the world. The Roman historian Pliny the Elder recorded the acclaim for painters who were able to render their subjects in line and colour so accurately that they were indistinguishable from their appearance in nature.