Among the symbols of the rich traditional culture which existed in the world decades ago are the works of art which were developed by various artists around the world. These paintings and portraits carried a message within a small piece which is more than the words can express in a whole chapter. Some of the artists who existed and whose work of art is recognized all around the world include Judith Leyster and Adelaide Labille-Guiard. Despite limited experiences in drawing in the field which was largely dominated by the male during the time these artists, they still managed to come up with magnificent works of art which are still adored by many to this day.
Judy Leyster who was born at around 1609 and died in 1660 was a Dutch artist who is recognized for her self-portrait painted in Amsterdam in Holland at the in 1630 at the age of 21. Leyster was the only woman accepted into painters guild of Haarlem in the 17th century due to restrictions which denied women participation in painting activities. She had her painting workshop with pupils an activity which was uncommon for women at that time. This is due to her painting prowess which earned her a place in painting society. According to the records obtained from metmuseum, the oil on the canvas used to draw the portrait by Leyster is medium, and the size of the painting is 29 by 26 inches (Merilyn Stokstad).
The painting by this artist is made up of two paintings. There is a painting and another painting within a painting. The painting within this painting has a painting of a person who appears to be playing the violin. The painter, on the other hand, seems to have stopped painting with a brush on her hand to talk to another person as the mouth appears. She is wearing an elegant dress and a fashionable chair which symbolizes the success the artist has gained in life in general and in painting in particular. The person playing the violin, on the other hand, symbolizes her success which she seems to point out that merrymakers enjoyed the sight of her work due to the lively nature of her paintings. She symbolizes her success and skills in painting which enabled her to paint great portraits which are lively and attracts attention different people just like the way violin draws the attention of people. How she smiles in the portrait indicates that she is satisfied with her work while leaning on the chair, on the other hand, portrays satisfaction she has obtained from painting. The brush being held in her and shows the painting in progress. This symbolically indicates that she is not done with her career yet. The dress she is wearing, on the other hand, is a formal dress which has a large white collar which was worn by painters during her time. It symbolizes that painting was part of their culture as opposed to a way of earning a living as it is in the current decade.
Another important artist who is known for her contribution to art is Adelaide Labille-Guiard. She was born in France in 1749 and died in 1803. She became concerned about the need for education of women to become artists just like their male counterparts and begun advocating for it. To make her dream come true, she opened her painting workshop where she often trained women to paint. She did various painting works but the one which earned her a place in the history of painting is Self - Portrait with Two Pupils. This painting was done in 1785. The oil canvas used in the development of this painting was 29 by 24 inches. With the skill employed in the painting and the mastery in oil painting, some of the opponents of Labile and female painters came up with false accusations claiming that her painter did the painting, but this was to subside later. King Louis XVI was impressed by the painting and went on to reward her with allowance to support her work of art. She, therefore, became a rare female figure who was successful in a male dominated area. This encouraged other women and opened up opportunities for young female painters (Alice J. Walkiewicz).
In her painting, she positions herself in the center of a huge canvas with two beautiful women standing behind her and curiously observing the canvas; these girls are her pupils. In her hands, she holds tools used at that time by painters such as maulstick which was strictly used by high profile painters. She is wearing an enormous impractical dress and a wide plume hat on her head and positions herself in the position of authority with the two pupils keenly observing their teacher. The unadorned easel which appears to be wooden makes the workshop look like the studio of a professional painter during the time with the canvas filling the larger left part of the painting.
This artwork is a self-promotion with Labile portraying herself as a hardworking artist with the decent moral character as evident through her dressing which is elegant. The way in which the painting is designed and the simplicity, as well as the elegance of the furnishing, calls for admiration and financial support which it acquires from the King at later stages of her career.
Both Judith Leyster and Adelaide Labille-Guiard presents the challenges that were faced by the women in a male-dominated society where women are stereotyped basing on their gender. They, however, emerge victorious from painting profession which was dominated by men which allow them to compete with the rest of the people in the society. This however does not come easily since negative attitude and disappointment from other people was inevitable.
Both of the artists display the nature of success they have gained over time. While Judith Leyster sits comfortably in a chair leaning back which symbolizes that she was comfortable with her career, Adelaide Labille-Guiard shows off her well-decorated workshop with students and professional drawing tools which were only available for established painters. Moreover, Adelaide has achieved success which has enabled her to get some students that she teaches the art of painting. However, in contrary to Judith Leyster who displays her accomplishments and the success that her art has managed to deliver not only to her but also to other people who find pleasure in her work as symbolized by a man with a violin, Adelaide is concerned with teaching others. She is concerned about the view of the society on women and moves on with teaching women the art. With this, we can conclude that she was championing the rights of women in society who had been denied by culture and religion the right to education. On the other hand, it is viewed as a marketing stunt employed by Adelaide to popularize her prowess in the art by displaying the advancement that has been made in her workshop as she presented her tools of work and students that she has. This is somehow similar to the one employed by Judith Leyster who poses in a posture which insinuates that she is feeling good in what she does. Their decent code of dressing, on the other hand, is almost similar but has a thin line of distinction between them. While Leysters clothing symbolizes that art and painting were her culture, Adelaides clothing on the other hand shows that she was accomplished in her painting.
Alice J. Walkiewicz, Amy Raffel. gender-in-nineteenth-century-art. 1 12 2013. http://arthistoryteachingresources.org/lessons/gender-in-nineteenth-century-art/. 6 11 2016.
Auricchio, Laura. selfpromotion_in_adlade_labilleguiards_1785_selfportrait_with_two_students. 5 4 2007. http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/893350/selfpromotion_in_adlade_labilleguiards_1785_selfportrait_with_two_students/. 6 11 2016.
Merilyn Stokstad, Michael Cothren. 1up. 6 11 2016. <https://archive.org/stream/arthistory_201403/0205744222_Art2#page/n13/mode/1up>.
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