Art of Gender

Over the course of two hundred thousand years of human anthropology, art has undergone a paradigm shift and evolved in a variety of ways. What we now consider art was intrinsically impossible if we teleported back in time. Art’s concept has evolved throughout the space-time continuum, gaining meaning from time, society, context, and culture at the same time. The depiction of human shape, life, and existential activities, on the other hand, has mainly stayed consistent as one of the aspects of art. The regularity with which humans have appeared in artworks is noteworthy, whether it is prehistoric art from the Chauvet cave in France, mediaeval painting subjects, or post-modern work by contemporary artists in the twentieth century and beyond.

One important component of human-centric art is the depiction of various genders and their journey through the cognitive process. One of the most common ways in which our culture has characterised art and sexuality is as representations of individualism — as “personal.” Individualism has a large — and maybe historically unique — value in our culture. And, because we’ve made culture and gender essential markers of individualism, they’re vital to our fundamental conception of art. Furthermore, gender is inextricably linked to a notion of sex and sexuality. The production of works of art is primarily driven by sexual desire, according to some, most notably in Freudian and modernist art debate. Sexual impulses and wants have also been argued to influence the distribution, display, and reception of art, notably since the early 1970s.

The picture Woman

The picture Woman, 1925, by Edvard Munch, which is currently on display at the Munch Museum in Oslo, inspired this overall topic. Edvard shows three types of women in society in this painting. The lady in white clothes represents modesty, the nude figure in the centre stands in contrast to the dressed figure, and the woman in black robe, who could be a nun, represents a locked-in personality that solely relies on dutiful tasks or a marriage in disarray. A male figure standing close in an awkward and unsure position might be pondering how different qualities of women being liberated, independent, or rebellious could all be shown in one area. It’s likely that all three female figures are the same person in three stages: first as an unmarried virgin dressed in a symbolic white gown, then as the expected female figure exposed during sex, and finally as an older woman with relationship problems or a spouse who has died.


What is proposed in this article is a steady shift in gender and sexuality portrayal across different artforms and time eras. We have progressed through time to show how a woman is viewed in society through our art, i.e., from deifying her to applauding her to objectifying her, art and artforms have jumped to a quintessential disposition of disparaging her entire existence. We’ll start by looking at a 1530 painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder. The painting The Unequal Couple (Old Man in Love) depicts sociological demography in the present day. Men in society prized women for their appearances and fecundity rather than their personalities during Cranach’s period in the 16th century. When it came to marriage, women were still objectified under patriarchy, and it was still organised without any subjective judgments. As a result, Cranach showed an elderly guy with a young girl, with no implied lack of love owing to the age difference.