Feminine Mysticism in Art: Artists Envisioning the Divine

By Victoria Christian

"Kwan Yin", by Theresa SharrarThe rise in the United States in recent years of feminist religious movements that focus on female images of the divine Goddess suggests that many women, in addition to men, find goddess symbolism to be appealing.

Many feminist artists, too, claim to have found inspiration in goddesses and goddess symbolism as they provoke reminiscent feelings of a distant past—a vague, yet familiar reality lost to westerners. Feminist critiques of religion and some postmodernists have taken issue with traditional images of God, arguing that male hegemony in Western cultures can be correlated directly with the centrality of a single, all-powerful male god in the dominant strands of the predominately Jewish and Christian religious heritage of Europe and the United States. Many would argue further that given this situation, it is important for women as well as for men with feminist goals to recover or create empowering female symbols to help combat the ones that support patriarchy and the denial of the feminine principle.

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