Gender issues just like in other professions are as well highlighted in the field of arts and architecture. In some instances art, architecture and the artists use this powerful profession to highlight major issues such as prejudice, inequality and abuse based on gender. All these attempt to evade the limitation and judgment of personalities based on their sex. Despite being a male-dominated profession, arts and architecture has also some of the finest female artists in history. These females just as their male counterparts have contributed largely in the development of art and architecture ever especially into the 20th century. This paper discusses the contribution of three women artists; namely Lee Miller, Hannah Hoch and Plautilla Bricci; toward the development art and architecture. Irrespective of their gender and perceived roles in the society, these women have stood out in this field and made exceptional contribution. The outstanding contribution of these females to this industry has acted as way to open more platforms for the upcoming art and architecture female artists.
Hannah Hoch was born in Germany in 1889 and contributed vastly to arts. She is famously known for pioneering the Photomontage art form during her time with the Dada movement, an artistic and literary circle. Her main approach to art involved the use of a diverse photograph coalescing practice in creating her arts and paints. She is acknowledged as a true feminist who believed in the creative role of women working in the society. The feminist approach she adopted was typical of her works issues pertaining to gender and the woman figure within the society. Some of her works include the Russische Tanzerin (Russian dancer), photomontage, 1928, and the Da-Dandy, 1928. The latter piece of art was used by Hoch to address the inequality in the Germany society and limited freedom in the Dada movement. Through her works she disproved of long-standing myths and flaws that had taken center stage in the definition of the German woman. Her struggle s against the prejudice and inequality existing in the German society must have prepared her for a successful career in arts. Also, the works pioneered by the artists have been widely modified to the basis of photomontage kind of painting or art work.
Plautilla Bricci is famously known as the first woman to have practiced architecture and painting. Bricci was born in 1616 in Rome and is believed to have taken after her father who was a painter and her brother Basilio who was also a painter and an architect like her. Some of her greatest works are documented in the history of Rome. One of her best and popular designs is Romes Chapel of Saint Louis (1672). Through this design, the creativity and skillfulness of Plautilla are brought into perspective making her one f the greatest female architects of her time and even the present. Apart from the architecture, the painting of Plautilla was very exceptional and highly regarded. Although her design of the chapel was seen as one of her great works, her own painting inside the chapel has overshadowed the praise she received for the chapel. This is the only paint by Plautilla that remains in preservation to date. One of the struggles she faced in her time was the credit the male artists took for her own art including her brother. Out of the several designs done by Plautilla, only two of them are documented under her name. At one instance, the owner of one of her designs Villa Benedetti was reluctant to acknowledge her role (a woman) in designing the house until people started to praise and admire the house.
Lee Miller is referred by many art and architecture enthusiasts as the art equivalent of the Renaissance Man owing to her unmatchable contribution toward fine arts and photography. Miller was born in New York in 1907, where she majorly developed as a fashion model before venturing later into fine arts and photography. Her initial venture into arts was her drawing and paintings of portraits that would later translate to solarization process in photography in the early 1900s. What makes Miller exceptional is that her contribution into art was so massive that she inspired great modern artists, male and female alike including Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau and Paul Eluard. Through her art, she exemplifies the contemporary woman as an accomplished and independent individual whose work in art and fashion is heralded in equal measure as those of the male counterparts. Her contribution to the Vogue magazine during the World War II marks some of her greatest career, where she used photographs and portraits. These characteristics were probably inspired by her earlier struggles in life as a victim of gender abuse. During her earlier years Lee had been a victim of rape, at the age of sixteen to be precise. She also contracted gonorrhea. It is probably these struggles that increased her self-awareness and helped her to purposefully develop into a model woman during her time and even the present time.
As observed with the examples of Miller, Hoch and Plaustilla, the role of the women toward the advancement of art and architecture is paramount. Despite the struggles and challenges they were faced with the women defied the odds and pushed for an equal work environment with equally opportunities for both male and female artists. Hoch for instance despite the inequality and discrimination against women in Germany at that time she still pushed for an all round woman character through her art work. The case with Miller and Plautilla is almost similar and is covered with challenges relating to discrimination, prejudice and inequality. These women through their vision and pursuit of purpose clearly put into light the role of the female in the society and consequently dispelling common myths and gender-bias dogmas. As observed in each of the artists accounts, the role of the males in helping the female artists present their confidence in a female productive profession is increasingly becoming significant.
Therefore, through their work, the world of art received a burst of female artists who were inspired by the mission started by these three artists. They have been great pioneers of important art styles that are appreciated across all classes. Thanks to their contribution, toward the end of the 20th century the role of the women in the society had been more pronounced and there were several female artists. The ability to produce landmark and pioneering techniques in art and architecture by these women puts them as important models to artist in the contemporary society. The success and contribution of development by these women led to the adoption of a more receptive culture for more women in the art and architectural professions.
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