ABSTRACT

63One of the crucial issues in the women’s movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s has been the relationship between social class and gender as determinants of women’s condition in the world. 1 The argument over the primacy of capitalism or patriarchy as the factor most responsible for women’s oppression is by no means a reductivist search for prime movers; the issue is one which not only provides a basis for political choice, but which affects the interpretation of history as well. As other essays in this volume indicate, the art historian can make some useful contributions to the question of the relationship between class and gender. Approaching the question from the point of view of non-ver-bal, visual language, the art historian can uncover valuable information about social position and attitudes of both patrons and protagonists of works of art. Particularly for social groups lacking substantial written documentation (and ancient women fit here be cause they so seldom speak for themselves), deductions from visual imagery may provide important links with silent populations.