Events | ‘The Role and Representation of Women in Art’

‘The Role and Representation in Art’

Artemisia Gentileschi Judith Slaying Holofernes Detail 1620
  • An illustrated lecture on gender and politics in art
  • A members’ event for Soho House Group
  • Contact: Antonella Bonetti

Talk Synopsis:

This visual talk explores the growing approbation of women artists from the Renaissance to the contemporary. A seminal moment has to be when Artemisia Gentileschi became the first female artist admitted to the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence; at the time her partly autobiographical work Judith & Holofernes was read as the power of women triumphing over powerful men. Gentileschi turned the horrors of her own life – repression, injustice, rape – into a brutal Biblical painting as a war cry for oppressed women. This set a precedent for Mary Cassatt, Berthe Morisot and Eva Gonzales during French Impressionism; female artists striving to make their mark in a milieu of male artists. From the empowerment garnered during the suffragist movement coupled with the rise in prostitution in Europe, women of the twentieth century were often depicted as femmes fatales in the paintings of Picasso et al. In Postmodernism, the female artist has conquered new ground via the auspices of YBAs Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas and Fiona Rae, and today the gender divide in the arts is almost non-existent.