The sexualisation of the female body has been a hot topic of controversy worldwide, illustrating the gender imbalance. However, the sexualisation of the female form dates back to the Renaissance, when religion and the female body were the focus of artworks. (Nguyen) This is also visible in today's advertising efforts, as firms use the female form to promote their products. This may affect a company's branding strategy, in which case it must maintain a precise image of how it wants to be seen in the marketplace.
A global problem
As a young girl with unlimited access to media (magazines, social media), I saw the sexualisation of women but did not understand it. Growing up, I became aware of the sexualisation and contemporary feminist initiatives like the Me Too campaign. Women are most sexualized in the arts. The Renaissance affected Europe's aesthetic and philosophical beliefs and may be considered a creative pinnacle.
Great Renaissance painters like Titian, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Giuseppe Bartolomeo, Botticelli, and others greatly influenced human taste for the beautiful art world. Connoisseur, 2019). Since this art movement had such a significant influence on the globe, I wondered how it would have impacted the fashion business.
Why study the world?
I've always been curious about where clothes firms get their advertising concepts, especially those with sexual overtones, and I couldn't tell if the idea came from antique paintings or nowhere. My investigation revealed that many firms are influenced by historical artists and art, such as Dolce & Gabbana.
This Italian company bases its advertisements on classic Italian art with a sexual twist. Understanding how to analyse paintings and advertisements was one thing, but another understood why the corporation was motivated by historical art and what it meant for their branding. The company's choice would need me to employ my visual arts and business management skills.
Two primary advertising campaigns and one sub-campaign by Dolce & Gabbana demonstrate their change: I will first discuss the company's most contentious advertising campaign, which was prohibited soon after publication, followed by their spring/summer 2012 campaign, which shows a noticeable shift in the company's focus, and lastly their SS 2014 campaign. Dolce & Gabbana is an Italian luxury fashion business created in 1985 by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. Their innovative ideas helped the brand grow. The brand is aimed at high-income consumers who enjoy high-end fashion. However, the business has done a lot of sexual advertising, leading to numerous unfavourable implications. (DGC, 2016)
To examine the study topic, I will first provide background information on the Renaissance. Then I'll explain who Dolce & Gabbana is and how their advertising campaigns have evolved. This section will analyse two Dolce & Gabbana advertising campaigns: AW 2007 and SS 2014. Then I'll look at two paintings from the Renaissance: Titian's The Rape of Europa and Sandro Botticelli's The Birth of Venus.
What is it?
After the grim middle Ages came to the Renaissance, science made little advances during the conflict, poverty, and the Black Plague. The Renaissance revitalized European culture, art, politics, and even economics. (Egerton) Many artists and philosophers were able to think of fresh and inventive ways to portray their views and sentiments. This era influenced artists and scientists alike.
Dolce and Gabbana
Dolce & Gabbana is a well-known high-end fashion brand. Founded in 1985, the firm is currently regarded as a global leader in the luxury products market. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are responsible for the creative direction and style of the brand's clothes and the business's development plans and marketing activities. The brand targets upper-income groups with timeless, high-end apparel and exceptional leather items. (2019) the firm developed rapidly in the 1990s, and as of March 31, 2014, it has 287 locations in over 40 countries.
Comparison and analysis of paintings:
Titian, Europa's Rape, 1560-1562
Paintings like "The Rape of Europa," created between 1560-1562, shows Titian's ability to experiment with numerous styles. (NG, 2018) In Titian's Rape of Europa, a young girl named Europa is abducted and raped by the deity Zeus, disguised as a peaceful white bull. (Collins) Titian avoided placing anything in the painting's centre, resulting in a work with several focuses points and a lot of drama. Europa is in the bottom right. The 'white bull' represents a fierce spirit, while white represents kindness, innocence, and purity. But this is not the case with the work of art. Zeus, the sky deity, has disguised himself as a white bull to rape Europa.
The Rape of Europa and 2007 Autumn/Winter Ad Campaigns
In interviews, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana claimed their ads influenced Italian culture, particularly Italian films, and artworks. When comparing the message and composition, it is clear that The Rape of Europa inspired Dolce & Gabbana. The women in both paintings look shackled and coerced into doing something they do not want to do. The males are clearly in authority in both photographs, which normalizes and condones the behaviour that society is striving to eradicate. (Harris)
Venus' Birth, Sandro Botticelli
Sandro Botticelli, a great Italian artist, painted 'The Birth of Venus.' This picture depicts the Goddess of Love and Beauty, and it is based on a poem by Poliziano. The Romans called her Venus. Venus, nude in the painting's centre, seems to enjoy the spotlight. Venus embodied the Renaissance woman: slim, pale, and voluptuous. The length of her neck and legs has been accentuated to highlight her stunning features. (NG, 2019) The west sea occupies much of the midground, but the foreground, Venus, receives much of the emphasis due to its flatness. The breath of Zephyrus was said to be able to produce new life. He is depicted hugging a nymph, symbolizing love. (12) Jones The painting's colours are warm, even the water, generally an icy blue in paintings, but here is a warm green.
The Birth of Venus and 2014 Spring/Summer Ad Campaigns -
The Dolce & Gabbana 2014 SS campaign is one of their family-friendly ads. Dolce & Gabbana is inspired by Italian culture. People came to her and gave her garments and good luck as she was born in The Birth of Venus. The narrative behind the artwork is not the same as the advert, although the composition is comparable. However, she has lifted her dress slightly, displaying more of her thigh, a symbol of sexuality.
According to a study, Dolce & Gabbana was heavily influenced by the Birth of Venus and the Rape of Europa. With the same composition, plot, colours, and even seasons. Dolce & Gabbana, like their ads, has developed throughout time. They started with bold, powerful storylines in their ads, maybe without thinking about the repercussions on their business. A brand-friendly approach that cares about its customers' image of them. This transformation can be noticed in their ads and the artworks they draw inspiration from. An awful narrative about a young lady being raped juxtaposes the lovely myth of the Roman goddess Venus being created.
I'd dig into the sexualisation of guys if I had more time. Men are sexualized in the media, even though it is primarily women, and the number is rising.
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