Feminist Musuem Paper

Adam Fleming
Introduction to Art
Prof. Gillian Cannel
December 4, 1998

The writing of this paper concerns the comparison and contrasting of two works of art

found at the Carnagie Musuem of Art. Both works depict images of women in an interesting

and captivating manner, and a visual analysis of each work will be given. The issues of

feminism in art will also be discussed, and more specifically how feminism concerns these

individual works.

The first work is "Evening" by W. H. Rinehart. It is a marble relief approximately 2.5

feet in height and 2 feet in width. This work depicts a single feamle figure holding a wand-like

implement in her right hand, and a tapestry of sorts in the other. She is a nude figure, and she

with the "tapestry" take up most of the work\'s space. There is no geometric pattern, as the

figure is floating in the center of the piece. There are also no lines because the figure is not

painted, and there is no figure/ground relationship because there is no background to the piece.

Parts of the female\'s body are accentuated, however, such as the buttox and thigh. These areas

of her body seem to "jut out" slightly more than the rest of her.

The color of the piece is depicted through the marble itself, making the entire work a

sort of off-white color with a sparkling undertone. This is not a low relief so the space of the

figure itself is fairly well depicted. One can easily make out the curves and contours of the

female figure. There is no perspective system evident, as there is no background to provide

one. There is also no light or shading depicted, save for the light in the musuem providing the

figure with shadows which give her a more "real" feel.

The mood of the work is very peacefull, and it is easy to take pleasure in the simplicity

of the theme which the work depicts. I believe the female figure presented to the viewer to be

a goddess of sorts. The tapestry which she is carrying is actually the evening sky, and the

wand-like implement which she touches it with may be coloring the sky dark, or perhaps

drawing in the stars. Upon closer examination one could percieve how this female figure takes

on the shape of the moon itself; the left side of her body curved as one would find in a cresent

moon. This flowing toghether of body parts to symbolically represent something is subtle and

amazingly well coordinated. The absence of a background leaves even more to be decided by

the viewer, such as where exactly she is and what she is doing there. I like to simply place her

in the middle of the sky, sort of floating across the landscape, pulling the shroud of night along to

cover the daytime sky. The use of marble as the medium for this work is also intriging, as one

could make the comparison between its natural off-white color with that of the moons. The

sparkling tone which the marble creates similarly represents the sparkling stars of the sky.

I believe this work to be different from others similar to it in its time. Typically, and this

work is not an exception, works such as these were produced by men. It is often thought that

nude female figures were presented in a manner so as to make them be pleasing to a male

viewer. I feel that this work is an exception. Just by glancing over the work one can see that

although the figure may be posed in a slightly provacative manner, she is not depicted in a lude

or distastefull way. Upon closer inspection one may notice that this figures face takes on

characteristics similar to those found in ancient Greek sculpture. Her eyes are left blank and her

hair takes on the short and pulled-up style found in these earlier works. One may even go so

far as to conclude that this figure is that of Artemis, the Greek goddess of the moon (also the

goddess Diana in Rome). Taking all of this in to mind I believe that Rinehart did an exquisite

job in making what appears at first glance to be a