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Women Portraits by Copley, Sargent, Evans Essay

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Updated: Dec 14th, 2021

During the early American colonization, the attitude towards women was very bad; they did not have any human rights and opportunities like men. In the early times the women were meant for doing household jobs and to look after their husband and children. Women were treated badly by men. They were bound to obey their husband. They did not have any right to form or say any opinion; moreover, they were considered physically weaker than men. In the early period, American tradition depressed the women’s action and thoughts. The male dominant society did not accept women’s thoughts and ideas. The women were disheartened with male dominated society. In the early period, American women suffered a lot, but in the beginning of 19th century women and men were equal before rights. So, in the history of American art, women were sketched in the way they lived in that period. By the end of the 19th century, the attitude towards women changed and they got all positions in the men dominated society. The women became famous in every field even in politics; so the men accepted women’s strength and ability. The women changed their living pattern from the traditional system. Their culture, dressing style, thoughts etc altered in the modern way and around 50 percent of the women were employed. So, the artists also changed their artistic work and their pictures represented the artifacts relating to the real women’s life in the modern period. John Singleton Copley, John Singer Sargent and Walker Evans are the three artists in America and from their pictures one can understand the life style of women in different periods.

John Singleton Copley was a famous American artist and there are many portrait paintings of this artist. He had done mainly the portrait of women figures and his art was related to their living. The art was done in oil painting and his works were associated to historical topics. Portrait of Mrs. Quincy is one of his famous art works and Mrs. Quincy was a lady who led a royal life. She was a beautiful lady who dressed in very fashionable and empire style. The calm, stylish attitude of Mrs. Quincy shows her status and character. This picture is brilliantly colored along with attractive background which makes this portrait more gorgeous. And it looks like the real image of Mrs. Quincy. The gown worn by this lady shows the dressing style of the royal ladies in the historical era.

John Singer Sargent is an American painter. He painted Madame X, beautiful women portrait. Madame X is one of the world’s best known portraits and this painting is one of the personal favorite paintings of John Singer Sargent. Ultimately, Sargent sold it to the metropolitan museum of Art. The name Madam X is more self-confident in its dramatic quality. Sargent’s Madam X is more mysterious and impersonal; it makes this portrait appear to stand for the idea of women as such. Madam X is one of the important examples or symbols of modern women life in American history. Sargent pictured her as a beautiful and white colored woman; but at the same time though the black of her dress is bold, it is also withdrawing deep, mysterious. So, it indicates the real life of women in America. Sargent combined the color very attractive and more beautiful. He pictured the woman as white, but she wore black long dress and the background of this painting is gray in color; so this color combination increases the beauty of this picture. John Singer Sargent shows the woman of modern society and Madame X symbolizes the new professional woman.

Walker Evans is an American photographer who produced some beautiful and remarkable images. Allie Mae Burroughs is one of the best known images of Walker Evans which indicates the representation of great despair. The figure and background of this picture show the suffering of the people due to over population. He was an excellent photographer who was able to grasp the feelings, expressions, and emotions of the people. He grasped the remarkable pictures of women in his camera.

Even though John Singleton Copley and John Singer Sargent were portrait painters, there was difference in their painting. John Singleton Copley was the artist of the colonial America; so his art was related to the historical subject. He portrayed the figures of real women lived in that period. But, John Singer Sargent was the painter of America in the 20th century. So, his works were associated to the individual lives in the modern era and he sketched the women in the way they lived i.e. their culture and dressing style. Walker Evans was a photographer who was brilliant in his profession who had taken many amazing pictures. And one of his photos of Allie Mae became more political. John Singer Sargent indicated about the professional women in his work and Walker Evans indicated the political women. So, one can see great differences in women’s portraits of these three artists.

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