Women Artists
by Margaret Barlow

Includes six centuries worth of information and more than 300 colorplates of works by extraordinary female artists, from pre-Renaissance to the present day

For many hundreds of years, tradition held that a woman's place was in the home, but a lucky few, like sixteenth-century Italian-born painter Sofonisba Anguissola, nonetheless received an education in music, literature, and painting. Some women, on the other hand, found more freedom in the cloister than they would have in the world, and this included the freedom to create art. During the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, female hands like those of Caterina dei Vigri created reverent works for chapel walls and holy vestments. Between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, female artists advanced out of the convent, past praise for being exceptional for their sex, to a professionalism and popularity equal to that of their male contemporaries. Women like late-Renaissance painter Artemesia Gentileschi, who had the benefit of her artist-father's superior instruction, and Rosalba Carriera, whose popular pastel portraits earned her favor with prominent dignitaries and nobility, eventually gained international success to serve as examples of women's achievements for centuries to come.

Margaret Barlow's informative and well-researched text highlights the lives and accomplishments of well known and lesser-known women whose art has stood for something more than the sum of its parts, women who, despite restricted access to formal training, and in the face of societal pressures to conform to prescribed virtues of "womanhood," overcame impediments to pursue successful careers in art through the ages--Judith Leyster, Elisabeth-Louise Vigée-Lebrun, Angelica Kauffmann, Emily Mary Osborn, Lilly Martin Spencer, Mary Cassatt, Camille Claudel, Paula Modershohn-Becker, Georgia O'Keeffe, Käthe Kollwitz, Frida Kahlo, Judy Chicago, and scores of others.

Additionally, included here are journal and diary entries, letters, and snippets of autobiographies of several women artists whose personal lives and achievements have cast a particular drama or influence. The stories of these and the other women included in this volume deserve a prominent place in the long and continuing history of art.

10 3/4 x 14 in., 320 pages
ISBN: 0-88363-398-1

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