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Linda Nochlin’s “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”

The work by Linda Nochlin titled “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” analyses the reasons and the consequences of the limited number of females in the “art profession.” The author gives several examples from the past that illustrate the events of that time and the way society functioned. And the question being analyzed changes to consider the reason why women had no chance or opportunity to become great artists. It is speculated that women grew up and are still raised with a certain negative spin on their role in society and in some instances their advancement towards their goals is limited or blocked directly by people or by the world’s system itself.

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The paper starts out by saying that it was and is a prevalently male-dominated society, where women are misrepresented in the structure of societal make-up. Their individual wants and needs are diminished from the very beginning destroying even the possibility of them achieving something on a personal level. It is true because the world is infiltrated with a system that is running on a mechanism that was started and made some time ago, having outdated views and conclusions about women’s role in the family and society. The old view of a woman’s role in the world is instilled into girls from very childhood, it narrows the choices and forces a view that women must only raise children, have a family and devote as much time to it as possible. It is evident throughout history that treatment towards women was very different and unfair without any particular interest in what the woman wanted.

Linda Nochlin admits that there physically were no women artists because it is true, and not because women are not talented, but due to the fact that women didn’t have many chances to develop their talents. From the very beginning they were oppressed and pressed into a role that society demanded from them. She brings up an example that women often had conflicts with their parents about their choice and authority in general. This is another difficulty that created an obstacle in women’s goals to develop their own talents and skills. Nochlin provides an opinionated article written by someone else, as an example that talks about how women are supposed to be differential in their knowledge of things.

By having the knowledge and specializing in many things they are more “useful” as the keepers of the house and family. If they focus on one personal goal, they will not have time for other things. And unfortunately, this outdated view is still the case even today. It is almost expected of a woman to devote time to the family because if she gets involved in art or the pursuit of a career with spending most time working on achieving those goals, she will not have time for family. This point has been considered extremely discriminatory for some time now and it is evident that there are more women today who take advantage of the opportunities and develop their talents.

The author mentions the time of the Renaissance and that there simply were no models for women.

As if that was not enough, women were not allowed to participate in the drawing of nude models. This was an important part of the training of an artist who wanted to pursue arts further. And even if women did get their paintings acclaimed, they would not receive awards equally to men. These are examples of psychology that were predominant at that time. There is no doubt that now the times are changed and more people are supporting the freedom of choice. Discrimination and opposition towards women and their role in society are now considered unacceptable judgment that is dictated by the absence of reason or respect. Linda Nochlin brings up artists like Picasso, Rembrandt, and Michelangelo and says that there are no women who are equivalent to those particular people but these artists had a chance to flourish at the time when women were forbidden to participate. But now there are examples of women who are great artists. Another proposed reason for there being very few or no women artists that Linda talks about is that women’s greatness and talent represent themselves differently than men’s due to the situations and living conditions that women find themselves in. This does reflect the reality of the world because the characteristics in individuality and behaviors between males and females and among other people in general are different in nature, genetically and thus growing up in a society where opinions are everywhere, women grow up and live in an environment where they are subject to the male influence, through media, public interactions and on a private level.

Linda Nochlin discusses art and how it is more than a simple representation of something or other on a canvas. Artwork is meant to make the person think and consider other perspectives. And the same is offered by the writer when she suggests looking at the whole question of “why there are no women artists” differently, with another context referring to the bigger problem at hand, which is what is going on in the world that there are no women artists? We have to look deeper into the meaning of the word “art” and that it is a big part of everything a person does and a unique way that every person has of doing these things. Linda wants the reader to understand the idea that women do have a feminine side but the way it is manifested is very different from that of a male. There are many things that women do, which require creativity and a degree of artistic view. Linda also talks about times when women got help in their beginnings and dreams. She brings up examples of women artists who were encouraged by their fathers or another male figure, or someone close in the family who was also an artist. As always there are cases that are outside of the “normal” frame and a daughter gets all the support she can possibly get and thus develops her talent since a predisposition is already an element of skill. The author of the article says that now things are getting better as women are receiving more freedom and power to choose their own careers and hobbies.

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It is a good point because now is the age of individual rights and equality and it is well known that in the past women were mistreated and people of modern times try to steer away from such predispositions and stereotypes.

The paper is a well-balanced work as it mentions several examples from the past and present and so it creates an atmosphere that changes the perspective and poses the question differently. Through historical analysis and the definition of art as being a deeper personal attribute to beauty, Linda Nochlin supports her view that the hard times for women in art we a major setback are now things are getting better and great works created by women will not stay an unattainable dream anymore.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 29). Linda Nochlin’s “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”. Retrieved from


StudyCorgi. (2021, December 29). Linda Nochlin’s “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”.

Work Cited

"Linda Nochlin’s “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”." StudyCorgi, 29 Dec. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Linda Nochlin’s “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”." December 29, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Linda Nochlin’s “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”." December 29, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Linda Nochlin’s “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”." December 29, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Linda Nochlin’s “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”'. 29 December.

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