Women ≠ Men in Renaissance Art

Child-bearer, a keeper of home, a good wife, these were used to described a woman from Renaissance. Women were expected to marry and have children, so they were not welcomed if they worked, especially in male-dominated professions, such as artists. Renaissance was not a promising time period for women artists to show their talents, although many humanists advocated that people should think reasonably. Gender discrimination was still a common idea during Renaissance time—women were perceived as imperfection comparing to men, which was according to Aristotelian (Maylon).

I first discovered the idea in the McKay textbook, but during the research, I saw more art works showing the gender discrimination. Not many women were famous in painting or sculpture because they were not allowed to study them. However, the art work done by women, mostly needlework, textiles, or drawing on porcelain, were considered as minor art work, which were not as important as paintings, sculptures, or frescoes(McKay).

Some women were lucky enough to have fathers to teach them about art privately, but the education that they got was not as good as what was provided in formal art academic schools. Especially, nude, the fundamental element in art, was not allowed for women to study; women also couldn’t do fresco because they would need to work in public. The reason that stopped women’s chances to emerge their talent was their roles in society during Renaissance. Women artists were limited by their gender roles, and it is unfair for them. So women artists mostly drew portraits or life scenes, which was different from what men usually drew. Men artists drew human body or religious stories, because they want to perform the beauty of human, and the art works done by men and women artists clearly show the different styles.



  1. ilana1234

    Hey Rogina, great post!
    I really liked how you talked about gender discrimination during the Renaissance period. Do you think the male dominated society affected the Renaissance in other ways, not just art? How? Thanks,

    • rogina9993

      Thank you Ilana!
      I think men actually have higher social class then women–not only in art. Men were considered that they had more physical power(that’s true in most situations) and wisdom, and women didn’t, so they has to obey men in life, and that was considered as the perfection of women during Renaissance. I think the story of Griselda can be example to perform the gender inequality in a general way.

  2. claire1431

    Hi Rogina! I really enjoyed your post! I researched a similar topic, and I found very interesting how you compared at the end how men represented women in art, as well as how women represented women. Because there were so many male artists during the Renaissance, a lot of times they were the ones to depict women. Do you think that if you look at men’s depictions of women in their art, that they can fully show how women were during the Renaissance? How would it be different if there were more women artists? Thanks!

    • rogina9993

      Hi Claire!:)
      Thank you for reading the most and give me good questions to think about. I’m not really sure how to answer it, because not only nude(many Renaissance people thought fatter women were more beautiful), many artists also draw many women portraits. I think they want to show the beauty of human body(which is the physical perfection) and also the obedience of women, which was their roles and what men expected women to be like in life. If there were more women artists, I think real life scenes would be performed.

  3. kristin888

    Hi Rogina! Great post!
    You did a great job describing the gender differences in art and how women were mostly underrepresented during the Renaissance. But why do you think there were so many paintings of women during that time even though women were mainly shunned from the realm of art?

    • rogina9993

      Hi Kristin!
      Thank you for reading the post! During Renaissance, people praised women’s ability to bear, and they thought women had the body beauty. Men artists also drew women to show their perspective of women, which they wanted women to be ideal by obeying men. Also, I think women’s gender role didn’t influence much of being in part of the paintings, since the artists just wanted to perform their ideas.

  4. sangj1n

    Hi Rogina I like your post. Since we’re having a same topic, this post will be helpful for me. I see the changed title which is great! You did a great job to describe women’s role in Renaissance period, and it looks awesome. Nice job!


    • rogina9993

      Hi Sangjin!
      It was great to talk to you and the conversation gave me some idea to write in the post, as well. Thank you for your commenting!:)

  5. davidz123

    Hi Rogina, it’s a really interesting post! I did a similar research on the gender inequality in the Renaissance. I actually realized a fact that there were some differences between the arts done by men and women. And this may be a useful source

  6. Hi Rogina:

    great post! I initially thought of doing the same topic, too. I also did researches on women artists during the Renaissance. The most interesting of all is that some people believe Renaissance was a period women artists started rising; but some people believe that Renaissance was a period where women artists were being restricted.

    Gary L.

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