Women Looking Out in Art
Updated: Jan 10
A topic in art which has been represented with women only is the subject of looking out of a window. Mr. Emerson in ‘A Room with a View’ by Forster states “Women like looking at a view. Men don’t”. True or not, I haven’t found any worthwhile representations of men looking out. Shown ‘Two Women at a Window’ by Murillo
Hopper’s Pensive Lady in Pink Travels the World. The need to expand one’s horizon. The desire to see the world. Never been more true now than ever. This painting brings to mind Giorgio de Chirico’s metaphysical landscapes.
Salvador Dali’s Young Woman at a Window. At first glance it looks like the figure is looking at the view but it looks to me she is reflecting upon her life. The white rag on the window sill may reflect she is taking a break from a household chore. The ballerina-like shoes reflect her desire to rise beyond the confines of the room she finds herself in. Dali may have displayed a weird public image but he was an excellent painter.
Paula Rego’s Looking Out. There is always a coarse quality to her work but she excels in upending the way we have been trained to think. The woman in the painting is not the beautiful, pleasant to the eye image. Doesn’t she have the right to dream like any other woman? But the leg on a chair implies some effort to look out. And then there is no view after all.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s Woman at the Window. Everything in this composition is still including the young woman looking at the window. It makes you wonder what happened to disillusion her and make her not look forward to a new day. The cheerful color scheme is in total contrast to the sense of despair the painting portrays.
Caspar David Friedrich’s Woman at Window. In Victorian times women could barely peek out of a window. There weren’t many choices available to them outside the home.
Vermeer’s Woman with Jug. Small daily acts that are essential to our well being like opening the window and letting the light in. There is no one like Vermeer who can portray light as it falls on walls, furnishings and on us. Who doesn’t need light in their lives?
Majas on a Balcony, attributed to Goya. Look at the contrast between the women who are enjoying what they are seeing to the threatening, sinister quality of the companions in the background. Notice the total difference in color used to represent the women from the men. The men are certainly not looking out.