Many factors influence the works of artists. The time they are working in, the culture, and their own lives effect what they depict and how. Gender is no exception. Feminist Historians believe "that gender is an essential element in understanding the creation, content, and evaluation of art." (Adams, 79) The differential treatment one receives as a product of being either male or female, effects their view of the world, what is important in that world, and how to depict these themes. Because women were thought of as inferior in the world of art, which was dominated by men, their experiences differed from those of their male counterparts. This discrimination must thus be taken into account when analyzing their work. Camille Claudel's sculpture, "The Waltz" represents a metaphysical love rather than a sensual, physical lust as was so often depicted by her male predecessors and contemporaries. She presents a woman who is not merely a sex object, but rather one who is spiritually connected and equal to her male lover. By analyzing the social context in which Claudel was sculpting as well as the form and iconography of the piece itself, one can see the effects that gender has, not only on the artist's life, but also in the piece itself and how it was received at the time.
As the Renaissance began take shape in the sixteenth century the overwhelming genius exhibited in the works of Michelangelo and Da Vinci solidified the artistic shift from the gothic. The artist had cemented his image as divine and was no longer a mere craftsman. However, this view of the artists was undeniably dominated by the so called male genius. At the start of the Renassaince women remained in the shadows of the artistic community and their own genius was suppressed by a society dominated by males. Yet, in northern Italy, by the mid sixteenth century female artists began to emerge
and women such as Sofonisba Anguissola’s were able …