Appear- Object, to be looked at
The people who bought art was men, the people who made art was men, a patriarchal society.
Commissioned by men for men.
Designed to make the man feel more reassured of his sexuality. Serves as a voyueristic fantasy, the woman in the painting is a fantasy, she never challenges, constantly available.
'Vanity' is almost mocking women at the same time, laughing at womens approach of being aware of their appearance.
To be an artist you had to show you work at Salon, (France) (1860's)
Most popular 1863
The one below was deemed unacceptable, (depicts a prostitute)
Both named after goddesses of love , Venus and Olympia.
One is a fantasy, one is reality.
Above, unchallenging, made to look beautiful
Below, a challenge to the stable world view, of a fantasy, and unchallenged gaze. She is more confrontational, she looks back. A cat is featured in this image, it is a symbol of her independence. Whereas like in (vanity) a dog is pictured , - mans best friend, controllable, trained, obedient , just like the man fantasies the woman to be.
Fantasies of male power. Nanny looking after the children, wife sexually available.
Part and parcel of the same process of the suppression of women.
Still now in 21st Century culture
"Men dream of women, women dream of men dreaming of them. Taught and persuaded from childhood to constantly survey herself against others and herself, how she appears... in particular to men."- Ways of Seeing, J Berger (TV show)
"A nude has to be seen as an object to be a nude" "To be naked is to be yourself, nude is the act of being seen naked by someone else but to not actually be yourself"
Consumer society - 'ideal female beauty'
To reassure ourselves we look at others as objects, the gaze relationship removes the other person and just becomes objectified.