What is the Ideal Woman?

I told you I’d be back sharing more from my Women in Art class!!

Recently, we were discussing portraits of women in the Renaissance. Each of us picked a portrait from an article we read on this subject and wrote a one page paper on the painting we chose. In class, we were split into breakout rooms to discuss the portraits we had chosen. Then, we had to curate all of our portraits into a virtual exhibit! We discussed how the paintings related to each other and the themes that arise when putting these paintings together. I wanted to share my group’s chosen portraits and the short museum labels that we wrote to accompany each one.

My group chose to focus our presentation on the expectations for women in Renaissance society and how those expectations are reflected within the representations of women in portraiture at this time. These expectations, and therefore representations, of women were centered around marriage. Our title for the exhibit was “What is the Ideal Woman?” This title doesn’t only relate our theme of expectations for women, but emphasizes the idea that these expectations were based upon traits that a woman could have, not who she actually was. The reds present in the background make a visual impact. Our group decided on red because it is a powerful color that is bright and in your face. We wanted these women to stand out as women, not just the virtues they represent. Breaking out from the mold of using a white background for a museum setting, the red comes as an alarming symbol of rebellion. To further make the background color meaningful, we changed the specific shade of red on each slide to accompany whatever portrait we wrote about. Here is the presentation!

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