Rosalba Carriera is one of the first and most famous pastel artists of the 18th century. It was a relatively new medium at the time and not that many people used pastels, but she was reknown for her beautiful detailed portraits. She was highly sought after as a portraitist in the courts of France and other countries.
Also a self-portrait. Such luminosity!
In our century, there have been many famous women artists, and many of them have chosen to depict women. Below are pictures by some of them:
Dorothea Lange was a famous photographer who worked during the Depression to take pictures which showed real life conditions for people. Such compassion and empathy in this picture!
This was one of the first pieces of feminist art I ever saw. I can't quite remember if it was before or after I gave birth, but I remember feeling the visceral searing pain of tearing in my vagina when I looked at it. It still hurts to look at.
The Dinner Party, an important icon of 1970s feminist art and a milestone in twentieth-century art, is presented as the centerpiece around which the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art is organized. The Dinner Party comprises a massive ceremonial banquet, arranged on a triangular table with a total of thirty-nine place settings, each commemorating an important woman from history. The settings consist of embroidered runners, gold chalices and utensils, and china-painted porcelain plates with raised central motifs that are based on vulvar and butterfly forms and rendered in styles appropriate to the individual women being honored. The names of another 999 women are inscribed in gold on the white tile floor below the triangular table. This permanent installation is enhanced by rotating Herstory Gallery exhibitions relating to the 1,038 women honored at the table.
My favorite woman artist I know about these days is Jenny Saville. She is young, born in Cambridge, England in 1970. She paints gigantic canvases of huge women. The way she depicts flesh is phenomenal. Her surfaces are spectacular - so beautiful. I saw one of them in person at the Philips Collection in their exhibit Paint Made Flesh. It was so moving I could hardly stop looking at it.
1996, Jenny Saville, Strategy
This is called 700, I believe. It's one of those which is over-the-top glitzy, idealized - not something a real woman could even aspire to! I don't think it helps women feel more empowered.
Women have come a long way from not being allowed to paint to now contributing to the art world every bit as much as men do. I realize women still have difficulty getting shows and being taken as seriously as male painters, but I can't say I understand why. Any thoughts?