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Preface

  • Page ID
    219331
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    Introduction 

    Herstory: A History of Women Artists is a remarkable and comprehensive textbook that offers a detailed and thorough exploration of the contributions of women artists throughout history. With ten chapters covering the earliest days of art to the present day, this resource is essential for students studying Art History and Gender Studies. Our extensive research has shown that women artists are equally, if not more, talented than their male counterparts, and Herstory is designed to highlight their incredible achievements and contributions to the art world. By promoting a more equitable and inclusive understanding of art history, Herstory aims to enhance education and encourage a deeper appreciation of women artists' work through the ages.

    “You cannot understand the art without understanding the culture.” - Gustlin

    Art history uses multiple art disciplines to study culture and people’s development through time. Visual arts are one of the oldest forms of communication between humans and the fundamental beliefs of their culture. The historical background of art history has been written from the canon of wealthy individuals from Western countries focusing on well-known art and artifacts in isolated environments. To become more culturally inclusive, the textbook is written to redefine art history by discussing art from every continent, civilization, and unknown artist and comparing different cultures that existed simultaneously.

    Credits

    I would like to express my sincere gratitude towards Evergreen Valley College, Dr. Tammeil Gilkerson, and the OER Cohort One team (Tejal Naik, Ly-Huong Pham, and Bhawana Mishra) for having faith in our proposal. Without the unwavering support of Evergreen Valley College, this book would have remained a mere dream instead of becoming a reality.

    “An individual has not started living until he can rise about the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” Martin Luther King

    Audience

    This book will prove to be an indispensable resource for students pursuing their academic interests in the fields of Art History and Gender Studies. Its comprehensive and insightful content is sure to provide a wealth of knowledge and understanding on the subject matter, making it an essential addition to any student's library.

    Chapter Outline 

    The text is organized into ten chapters:

    Chapter One: Introduction to Women Artists

    One of the most significant perspectives that has affected women artists is the belief in male artistic superiority. Women artists have had to challenge cultural attitudes that promote this notion and restrict recognition and opportunities for women. Gender roles have traditionally confined women to specific roles, but women artists have worked to broaden cultural perspectives on subject matter and style in art. 

    Chapter Two: Ancient Art (45,000 BCE - 499 CE)

    Throughout the early stages of human civilization, significant artistic advancement was observed across various cultures and regions worldwide. From prehistoric cave paintings to the magnificent architecture of the great empires in Asia, Europe, and the Americas, ancient art serves as a reflection of our ancestors' beliefs, values, and culture.

    Chapter Three: The Emergence of Women Artists in European Art (500 CE - 1600 CE)

    Rinascita, Italian for "rebirth," was a period marking the end of Europe's feudal systems and entering a new form of a cultural and political society built on commerce. The shift from the Middle Ages in Europe to the Renaissance was a revival act of the classical styles of Greek and Roman art, highlighting humanists' progression.

    Chapter Four: The Women Artists 1600 CE - 1700 CE

    The images of non-religious art also opened the door for female artists to create art about objects they found in their homes. Artists were generally nuns, daughters, sisters, or wives of existing artists. In Asia, landscape ink painting was considered the national art form and was supposedly dominated by male artists. Modern historians found many female artists also helped develop the concepts and forms of landscape painting; however, they needed to be better documented then.

    Chapter Five: Women Artists in the New World 1700 CE - 1800 CE

    During this period, the Salon grew in Paris to become the prestigious and official arbiter of fine European art, holding the most prominent annual shows in the Western art world. The early settlers relied on European art standards, posing the subject and painting clothing in portraits. Population centers like Boston, Philadelphia, and Charleston became meccas for artists from Europe and those born locally, creating new styles. The Spanish inhabited the coastal areas of the west, and art was based on the Spanish Catholic Baroque; the French controlled the Louisiana and Rococo style territory, while the east coast was under the influence of England and the Dutch aesthetic principles, the strongest and most long-lasting. The Qing period lasted from 1644 to 1912, a long prosperous span. All women were required to learn needlework, and their abilities to weave and embroider were also applied to other artistic skills. 

    Chapter Six: Women Artists in the Industrial Age 1800 CE - 1900 CE

    By the end of the century, social and political changes developed with multiple factions and views demanding reforms, sowing the seeds of revolution in the next century. The British Empire became the world's powerhouse, overseeing and controlling extensive territory in Canada, South Africa, parts of Africa, multiple islands, Egypt, India, and ports in China. When the century ended, the empire controlled a fifth of the world, including twenty-five percent of its population.

    Chapter Seven: Women Artists in the Early 20th Century 1900 CE - 1940 CE

    In the early 20th century, rapid change occurred everywhere; powerful states competed with each other, and other states resisted European domination, leading to significant, later upheavals. With rapid economic and industrial growth came the destruction of the natural environment. Rising economies in non-European parts of the globe and other nationalist movements brought uprisings weakening Europe's control, influence, and power. 

    Chapter Eight: Women Artists in Modern Art Movements 1940 CE - 1970 CE

    In 1940, the world was engulfed in war. Mainland China had been invaded by Japan in 1937, and Austria and Czechoslovakia were under the control of Nazi Germany. By 1941, the war was global as Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States while Germany attacked the Soviet Union. World War II was fought in Europe, the Soviet Union, North Africa, West Africa, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

    Chapter Nine: Women Artists and the Influence of Feminism 1970 CE - 2000 CE

    At the end of World War II, the United Nations was formed, and one of the significant elements was the establishment of a Commission on the Status of Women. The commission was the first global intergovernmental organization to focus on gender equality. In 1970, the first International Women's Year was held in Mexico to elevate the global discussion on women's rights. The Women's Bill of Rights was created as an international program to safeguard women's human rights and end discrimination against women.

    Chapter Ten: Women Artists in the 21st Century

    The advancements in social media, mobile phones, and the internet have opened up a world of opportunities for women today. With the ability to connect with others from all corners of the globe, women can now inspire and support each other like never before. While significant progress has been made in challenging gender stereotypes, much must be done to combat sexism in online spaces and advertisements.

    For the Student 

    This textbook is inclusive, diverse, and equitable to provide a culturally responsive overview of art. The textbook provides the interconnections in time sequences of the different societies to understand how the cultures, history, and art cross time, centuries, and geographic regions from ancient times to today. Diversity and equity are always at the forefront of the artist's lists and civilizations when the Table of Contents is created before research. Transformative thinking by students will occur when they comprehend a perspective of world art history from the viewpoint of equity and their historical ties to the regions seeing themselves and their cultures on the pages of the text.

    For the Instructor 

    This textbook is inclusive, diverse, and equitable to provide a culturally responsive overview of art. The textbook provides the interconnections in time sequences of the different societies to understand how the cultures, history, and art cross time, centuries, and geographic regions from ancient times to today. Diversity and equity are always at the forefront of the artist's lists and civilizations when the Table of Contents is created before research. Transformative thinking by students will occur when they comprehend a perspective of world art history from the viewpoint of equity and their historical ties to the regions seeing themselves and their cultures on the pages of the text.

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