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Sunday, 13 June 2021

Three Great Women Artists our May Zoom Talk

 Katie Ackrill gave our May Zoom talk, prompted by female artists being her research area of interest and expertise, and stimulated by Linda Nochlin's essay published in 1971 'Why have there been no great women artists?' Katie chose to introduce us to three great women artists.


who she took in order of age, starting with Artemesia Gentileschi and her Self Portrait as the Allegory of Painting 1638-9, a calm painting compared to some of Gentileschi's subject matter, and painted when she was a confident more mature artist

Gentileschi lived from 1593-1656 and spent her early years in her father's workshop where she was raped by one of the older members of the workshop. This affected her attitudes and is reflected in  themes used in her paintings, seen in the magnificent painting below, better reproductions of course can be seen elsewhere, where you can see what a popular subject it was for paintings.

 the second great artist considered was Angelica Kaufman 1741-1807, remembered primarily as a history painter, Kauffmann was a skilled portraitist, landscape and decoration painter, she was one of the founding members of the Royal Academy in London with Mary Moser in 1768.

Looking at Angelica's paintings online, I found rather a good site where you can see some famous paintings by her. Good for historical context as she was, I was more emotionally engaged with Gentileschi's paintings, and Suzanne Valadon's more relatable paintings.

Suzanne Valadon, 1865-1938 has captured the woman on the bed with blue covers wonderfully in this painting entitled 'The Blue Room'

This painting, The Joy of Life, 1911, was painted shortly after giving birth to her son, Maurice Utrillo, her use of vibrant colours can be seen if you look her up, or click here.

Thank you once again Katie for such an informative and interesting talk, it certainly fired me up to find out more, and wonder if female artists led more interesting lives.

I'll also reproduce the talk information:

n 1971, Linda Nochlin posed the question, Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?, providing a framework for our understanding of the social and institutional boundaries faced by women throughout history. In the fifty years that have passed since Nochlin published her seminal essay, a huge amount of work has been done to uncover a lost history of women artists, and examine why they were neglected from a narrative of art history that only made room for men.

In this talk, Katie Ackrill will discuss three women artists working in different periods and places, journeying from Renaissance Italy to 18th Century Britain, and finishing in 20th Century France. Katie will explore the context in which they were working, and how they built hugely successful careers as women of their times.

Katie Ackrill has an MA in Art History, specialising in the history of women artists.  She is a Wiltshire-based Curator, Art History Course Leader and Engagement Officer for Swindon Museum and Art Gallery.