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Art History Lecture

MODERN MISTRESSES: Women Artists since 1850

The term 'Old Masters' describes the canon of great European painters and sculptors from the Renaissance until about 1800: a period when art was a male-dominated profession. History of Art was formally acknowledged as a discipline in the mid nineteenth century, a time when universities also were exclusively male institutions.

However, in the second half of the century a significant number of women became successful artists, taking advantage of the Modern Art revolution. This period too was one of unprecedented female progress: educational and employment opportunities, property rights, the vote.

Second Wave feminism in the 1970's saw historians attempt to rewrite the all-male canon and saw artists confronting discrimination in powerful new ways. Third and Fourth Wave feminists have addressed issues of identity and diversity.

Now, in the twenty-first century, women hold many prominent positions in the art-world. So, has the battle been won or should we remain vigilant? In this talk we will explore the challenges and successes of women artists who have paved the way: the talented and ambitious 'Modern Mistresses'.