Back in August 2019 I posted an article on Representing Women by Linda Nochlin. Reading that post recently, I realised what a load of drivel it was. It made no sense, so I thought I would give it another go.
In my first attempt, I said that there was a lot to take in. Having read the book again, it occurred to me that one of these reasons is the number of cross references that I needed to look up. I’m still doing this research and it is hard work. The academic level these series of essays are primarily aimed at meant it would never be a walk in the park.
To offer a summary or paraphrase Nochlin’s analysis of the art and artists in this book would be doing her a disservice. What I can say is that the work chosen to feature in the book illustrates perfectly the points she is making. It is not a complete historical record and there is no way a book of this size could cover everything. But the end result makes the reader reassess the narrative of the imagery they see around them and to question what that says about women.
This book does not include Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?, the essay Nochlin is most well known for. In my opinion it is worth reading this in conjunction with this book.
Representing Women is a reminder of the pioneering work by Linda Nochlin in this academic field. Looking back, I wonder why the likes of Kenneth Clark and John Berger came across my path a lot earlier than her. Maybe I was looking in the wrong section or maybe it is just the patriarchy in play. Whatever the reason, I do hope there are plenty of students today and in the future that have at the top of their reading list one of Nochlin’s publications.
Linda Nochlin 1931-2017