Exhibition annotation

Women were not recognized as a valuable members of society just until the nineteenth century. There was an attitude that women are weaker than men, so they deserve permanent control of a smart men. Women did not have civil, political and property rights, or they were very limited. The only universally recognized institution in which women could participate was the church. However, such a discount – only exception confirming the social discrimination of women.  Social and political movements, which appeared in the first half of the nineteenth century, had changed the position of women in society. Socially “acceptable” and “normal” status of women in the family and in public life clearly defined tradition for nearly three quarters of the nineteenth century. A woman was seen only in the family and through the family – as a wife, mother, hostess for hundreds of years . The great women’s social status breakdown came slowly, mostly by participating in meaningful and important activities associated with ethnicity, national culture preservation.
Woman image in works of art reflects attitudes of that time, role of a woman in society. Paintings show that a woman was seen as obedient, desperate and quiet housewife in XIX – early XX century. While the nineteenth century.  Special movement – the women’s movement, claiming that women should have a right to vote, participate and fight in general for women’s rights, had formed in second half of XIX century. This movement was trying to show importance of woman’s role and place in history, however, focus for a long time was only on individual personalities: queens, beloved women of the kings, and cultural personas. Therefore these women were dominating in classicism paintings of that time.  The target of a painting was an absolute perfection and beauty, so women could be seen mostly in portrets. Although these movements for women rights affected women’s social position, image of a woman in paintings is still spreading kindness and calm sensibility in XIX – the first half of the XX century.
Vilnius University students are trying to present the image of a woman in paintings by this exhibition. Exhibition introduces painters of XIX – first half of XX century: Vladas Eidukevičius (1-4, 8, 11, 16, 18, 24, 32 pictures.); Pranas Domšaitis (9-10 pictures.); Boleslovas Mykolas Ruseckas (26, 31 pictures.) and some works of other painters from the Lithuanian Art Museum collections.