To confront the inadequate representation of women as heroic figures in American public art, this project investigates the precedent of representing heroines in art. Through researching artwork featuring heroines, and heroic figures in general, this project aims to understand the historical context that new works featuring heroines will fit into. A template for constructing art featuring heroines was developed, showing what features or qualities are generally emphasized for the artwork to read as heroic. As art history has supplied principally man heroic figures, it was interesting trying to discern whether a template for art about heroines is different or essentially the same as a template for heroes. This project also includes three groups of artworks: new portraits for United States paper currency featuring American heroines, propaganda posters featuring Lady Liberty, and proposals for public installations that celebrate American heroines. These works investigate the process of placing women in spaces historically used to celebrate predominantly man heroic figures. In this investigation, I found that many heroic signifiers used for heroes were suitable for heroines. Emphasize physical strength, a performance of masculinity, or an emphasized performance of femininity were not necessary for the portrayal of heroines to read as heroic. By creating these artworks and a template for constructing heroines, this project will hopefully encourage and enable other artists to create works featuring heroines and generate support for better representation of women in public art.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
School of Visual Arts and Design
Art; Studio Track
Orlando (Main) Campus
Henry, Cara, "American Viragos: Depicting Heroines in Public Art" (2017). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 170.