Ideal Women

There is a term “Renaissance Man” to describe a person who is creative, artistic, and musical. But have you ever heard the term “Renaissance Women”? I learned that women were restricted from doing art in the Renaissance. And there’s a dictum of Nannina de’ Medici, “Don’t be born a woman if you want your own way.” Women can be easily found in many paintings in the Renaissance but it’s hard to find women that are well known as an artist. What was the ideal woman in men’s minds? What were the women like in the society in the Renaissance?

Renaissance was the period that people could be unique and creative in art. However, only limited people from artisanal backgrounds and families with at least some money could be artists. Especially, only males had a chances to be artists when females couldn’t even get proper art educations. Women were unable to get formal art training because women were not allowed to study the nude male; so they couldn’t paint as males could. Because of that, women were only well known in minor arts such as textiles, needlework, and painting on porcelain. But, they were not known in painting or sculpting which were major arts. If a woman wanted to be an artist, she had to be born in to a family of nobility.

The reason why women couldn’t emerge in art during the Renaissance shows in the society at that time. It is interesting that the women figures, which the artists drew, were the representations of women what men wanted the Renaissance women to be. Woman’s role in the Renaissance was being a child-bearer, doing housework, and being a good wife. So women could only focus on the skills that helped them with the household. Many portraits of women reflect their social status and roles of being a wife and a mother. According to the article I read, it says how important it was for the Renaissance painters to depict women as an “ideal woman” as society’s idea and that shows the correct social class of women. The painting, “Venus of Urbino” by Titian represents the Allegory of marriage of a woman. It reminds the woman of the martial obligation that she has to fulfill to her husband. Titian achieves the goal of representing the perfect Renaissance woman who is just like Venus, becomes the symbol of love, beauty and fertility. I also watched a video of  “The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli, which shows the beauty of Venus. Many of the paintings such as “Venus of Urbino” and “Venus of Urbino”, contain the beauty of women.

It shows a great connection between the ideal women that were drawn in the paintings and the real women in life in the Renaissance. In many ways, men restricted women’s lives and set the ideal woman only as a wife and a mother that do house works while their husbands works outside. I believe that the society of restricting and excluding women influenced the Renaissance art to depict the “ideal women” in the paintings.


Work Cited

Drahman, Tess. “Women and Men in Renaissance Art.”Students.sbc. n. page. Web. 1 Mar.

2012. <>

Steven Zucker. Botticelli, The Birth of Venus, 1483-85. 2012. Photograph. Khan Academy


“Venus of Urbino by Titian.” Uffizi Gallery . (2012): n. page. Web. 3 Mar. 2012. <;.


Kent, Dale. “Women in Renaissance Florence.”Eymployees. (2012): n. page. Web. 3 Mar. 2012. <;.




  1. harry242424

    Hey Jisoo,
    I really liked your blog and you opening sentence about there not being a term “Renaissance Woman” and your quoted dictum really drew me in. I thought your blog was very provocative and I hope more people come and read this. If you were an artists in this time, what would you have done to try to stop the injustice?

  2. ilana1234

    Hey Jisoo I really enjoyed reading your post!
    I liked how you wrote about man’s view on what the women in the Renaissance should be like, and how that played out in the artwork from this time period. If woman had been more prevalent in the major arts during the Renaissance, what do you think the focus of the artwork would be? What affect would that have on our society today? Thanks,

  3. erinwritesagain

    Hi Jisoo,
    I thought your blog was really interesting. I think it’s strange that women were so restricted in a time that was so open and interested in studying humans. Do you think that was just because of tradition? I also wonder about women who were famous and did manage to become artists. Have you found any good examples?

  4. rogina9993

    Hi Jisoo!
    It’s a really good post with attractive opening. You give an idea of the connection between the ideal women and the real women in life. I know many examples of the ideal women since I am doing a similar topic, so I would like to know more about the real Renaissance women.

  5. davidz123

    Hey Jisoo, it’s a really interesting post! I like the way how you start your topic. How do you think the society of restricting women influenced the Renaissance arts that depicted women? or was there any paintings that showed the influence? Thanks!

  6. abbie95

    Hi Jisoo!
    I really enjoyed your post! In the first paragraph where you quoted “Don’t be born a woman if you want your own way.” was quite interesting and really drew me in. Today, there are no laws restricting either gender to art, however, certain arts can be seen as more or less feminine or masculine than others. Why do you think men could create art depicting the ideal woman or man, and women could not create either? What was it that was so restricting to women in art? Great post!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: