Underrepresentation in History
There is a story, told by Pliny the Elder who was a Roman writer from the first century BC, that says it was a woman who created the first ever cave drawing, tracing around the shadow of her lover onto a wall.
Yet despite this (and whether it is true or not, the telling of it at such an early time is important), until the 20th century – and the latter part, if we are brutally honest – women were severely underrepresented in the art world. If a woman was mentioned, then rather than simply enjoying her art as with a male artist’s work, it was more often suggested that the woman have ‘abnormal talents’, and it was this in general rather than the work that was produced that was critiqued.
An example of this is Mary Beale. Beale was a portrait artists working in the late 17th century. She was a highly sought after artists, in fact, with people visiting her studio from across the country and beyond in order to be painted by her. Yet it was her husband who received the real praise; it was his studio set up and painting methods that she used to create the work, so she was merely a tool, and it was he who should be commended. There are countless stories like this.