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WOMEN IN ART: Bad Girls, Good Girls... and Artists!

Traditional Art History has regarded the female model as an 'object'. She is to be gazed at, admired, and owned. Most artists have been men, most collectors of Art have been men, and the academic subject of Art History has been dominated by men. An unbalanced view is hardly surprising.

Very often, 'painted women' fall into stereotypes. Ideals of womanhood include the Virgin, pure wife and loving mother, whilst Venus, Eve and 'the fallen woman' are warnings - or excuses for voyeurism!

In the early 1970s feminist Art Historians began to explore how Fine Art has reflected, and even contributed to, a patriarchal ideology. At the same time they began to ask: where were the women artists of the past?

None appeared in key texts H.W. Janson's The History of Art (1963) nor Ernst Gombrich's The Story of Art (original ed. 1950). Is this because there were none?

Rewriting the canon was not an easy task. Where was the evidence? Where were the art works? Did they even utilise techniques, or depict subjects, acceptable as Fine Art? Research over the past few decades has changed the subject of Art History as well as the Art we see on display in galleries and museums.

This study day will explore a wide range of images of women from the Renaissance through to the present century and discover women artists from Artemisia Gentileschi to Tracey Emin.