Vasari Corridor Gender Imbalance (03:04)
Only 7% of self portraits in the Florence passageway are by women. In this series, Professor Amanda Vickery will reveal female artists whose talent and tenacity overcame social obstacles.
Italian Renaissance (02:04)
Florence is dominated by images of male virility. Modesty and obedience were demanded of 15th century women, who were confined to tapestry and needlework.
Properzia de' Rossi (02:42)
Born in 1490, de' Rossi wanted to be a sculptor. No written records remain of her apprenticeship, but a frieze containing carved fruit pits reveals her artistic skill.
San Petronio Basilica (02:39)
In 1525, de 'Rossi won a competition to work on the Bologna church facade. Vickery analyzes her marble panel of Joseph and Potiphar's Wife that shows her mastery of male anatomy—a subject forbidden to virtuous women.
Patriarchal Backlash (02:00)
De 'Rossi's talent drew criticism from male rivals, who slurred her reputation. She died penniless, but Georgio Vasari included her in his collection of Renaissance artists.
Renaissance Female Religious Art (04:22)
Florence art historians have uncovered a repository of female works. Vickery visits the Monastery of Santa Maria where women were free to create. View Sister Plautilla Nelli's "Last Supper."
Sofonisba Anguissola (02:41)
Female Renaissance artists could practice in court. An Italian woman pioneered informal portraiture, demonstrated in a painting of her sisters called "The Chess Game."
Joining the Spanish Court (03:30)
Anguissola attended the wedding of Philip II and Elisabeth of Valois in 1559, at age 27. Vickery describes how she danced with the king. Named lady in waiting, she adopted formal portraiture; view her depiction of Queen Isabella.
Successful yet Unknown Female Artist (01:49)
In her 90s, Anguissola won Van Dyke's admiration; view a sketch he made of her in 1624. Vickery believes her work in the Spanish court restricted her exposure to the public.
Lavinia Fontana (02:17)
16th century Bologna artist guilds excluded women. Fontana's father trained her in painting; view a self portrait advertising her professional skill that served as her dowry.
Art and Motherhood (04:25)
Fontana continued working as a professional painter after marrying in 1577. Vickery analyzes her portrait of the Gozzadini family of Bologna. Her domestic works have been overlooked in history.
Artemisia Gentileschi (02:50)
Gentileschi was born in to a Roman art family in 1593. She tackled biblical material; view her interpretation of "Susanna and the Elders." She was raped by her teacher Agostino Tassi; hear about the trial.
Medici Patronage (03:08)
Vickery analyzes Gentileschi's "Judith and her Maidservant" in terms of female solidarity and courage. Archives show that Gentileschi achieved artistic success in Florence through business skills.
"Triumph of Peace and the Arts" (02:29)
Gentlieschi built an international reputation. In 1638, she joined her father in Charles I's court to paint "Triumph of Peace and the Arts;" symbolizing her personal triumph over rape. Despite social constraints, a handful of female artists succeeded in Renaissance Italy and in Catholic Spain.
Clara Peeters (02:29)
17th century Dutch women had social freedoms. Reformation painting favored restraint; Vickery analyzes a breakfast still life by Peeters in terms of femininity and domestic ritual.
Joanna Koerten (02:12)
Female crafts such as embroidery were appreciated in 17th century Amsterdam. Papercut artist Hannah Oud-Biemold demonstrates her skill.
Forgotten Dutch Female Artist (02:22)
Koerten's paper cut of William III resembles a pen and ink sketch or engraving. Vickery discusses her contribution to 17th century Protestant art.
Judith Leyster (03:24)
The 17th century Dutch art market featured small genre pieces for bourgeois homes. Vickery explains how "The Proposition" portrays reality for women. Leyster sacrificed her art career for marriage.
Maria Sibylla Merian (02:54)
The Frankfurt natural artist left her husband for a Dutch religious community, with her daughters and mother. She was the first artist to depict metamorphosis stages in one drawing.
Expedition to Surinam (02:18)
Merian was fascinated by insect specimens brought back by Dutch explorers. In 1699, she defied social propriety and traveled to South America to study them in their tropical habitat.
Depicting the Cycle of Life (03:00)
Paintings from Merian's expedition were published in 1705. View one of her studies of spiders and ants. Vickery summarizes female achievements from the Italian Renaissance through Dutch Reform art.
Credits: The Story Of Women & Art: Episode 1 (00:44)
Credits: The Story Of Women & Art: Episode 1
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