In my further investigation, along with tying all of the discussed readings together, I have found a lack of gender representation for anything other than CIS Male potential homosexuality. As even spoken about in the Masten, there is a direct lack of representation because of hierarchical importance placed on homosexual or even just male relationships over that of even a male woman relationship. If there had been expectations at the time of a woman’s alternative sexuality, it’s writings would more or less be overlooked, or not even considered a possibility, because of this dismissal of women’s relationships in the 1600’s in Europe.
All of the big male names have books written on them, such as Caravaggio in Caravaggio’s Secret, or Girodet in Solomon-Godeau three books, or Thomas Crow’s work, or in James Smalls’ Making Trouble for Art History. Anne-Louise Girodet had over 5 long novels created surrounding the possibility of his homosexual tendencies, some using the evidence of his work and the relationship between the figures and the viewers (who would have been predominantly male) however have I yet to come across a novel which analyzed the possibility of the few female painters of the time’s sexualities. I find this to be in align with the patriarchal oppression women experienced at that time, such as Artemisia Gentileschi who was refused entrance into art school, and even denied access to male models for her large, renown paintings. Her work and sketches feature women in heroic and even slightly more sexualized manner, yet all her life is analyzed for is typically her world-famous rape trial, and for her gruesome rendition of Judith slaying Holofernes.
If some Art historians dedicate their life and their careers into interpreting what little information we have about artist’s social background, and by viewing their art work themselves for clues or hints into the possibility of an alternative sexuality, it would be more than possible for one to analyze the life of the few female artist that existed as painters or creators during this oppressive time in society.
As expressed in Caravaggio’s secret, If a male had homosexual urges prior to the 1800’s, one would align them more towards what we now would call a trans woman, or a man who feels and expresses themselves as a woman. Simply because if one was to be sodomized by another male, it would lower themselves on the hierarchical society pole that was so artificially established within popular white, classist European culture. They would be looked more down on, yet still hold an excess privilege for still being male. The author was able to figure out this very delicate social change that happened within the community of homosexual men (who were out), yet did not continue to examine how that would imply people who were not male.
Over all, I have found little attempts to connect sexuality with women artist at all, or women in general, of prior history unless they were directly tied to a rape trial, such as Lucretia who then killed herself in order to save her family’s honor, or adulterous affairs (or sexual relations out of marriage) such as Madame Lange, who Girodet then dragged through the dirt in his 1799 painting Madame Lange as Danae. This lack of representation just proves a critical point in history, which shows how oppressive the patriarchal society was. This could be a potential starting point for Art historians to start and then explore more, however with this, a woman’s relationship potentially to other women were overlooked, leaving nothing but the artwork they created to help authors create a solid foundation for argument.
Yet, it could very well be done. Caravaggio was a well known play boy, having relationships with many women. But through his work alone, the author managed to make a solid argument against his potential homosexuality, even without a lot of the social standings surrounding what could have been his sexual identity. If this author managed to create who is a renown playboy in old history time as a person who had homosexual tendencies, it would be highly possible for one to do that with a woman’s work. The lack of representation for women’s sexual identities just prove how society’s hierarchal points surround still around CIS, White, Men. Even when speaking of LGBT+ figures in history.
Unless a woman was expressing herself in what society would express as unacceptable, she was hardly spoken about. Even the possibility of a homosexual relationship between women might and could have been written off as a friendship. Yet even an attempt at analyze these friendships in relationship to some women’s art, would show even an attempt at establishing LGBT culture in popular history, similar to how many have done when speaking of men.