This course looks at the conditions of production that enabled the emergence of European women as independent artists in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Our primary focus will be Italy and the Netherlands, but comparative material will be drawn from England, France and Spain. We examine spaces and modes of production (courts, convents, and cities), and the social networks of patronage, marketing, and gift exchange within which women made and viewed art.
Our investigations concentrate on areas in which women artists made notable achievements, such as still life, portraiture, and self-portraiture. We also consider the engagement of women in other areas of visual culture such as needlework, printing and anatomical wax models. By the end of the course, students working in small groups will have devised an imaginary thematic exhibition of 15 works and written wall labels for the virtual gallery.
Estimated cost of materials: less than $50. No textbook. D.3