By Her Hand : Artemisia Gentileschi and Women Artists in Italy, 1500-1800

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'By Her Hand: Artemisia Gentileschi and Women Artists in Italy, 1500-1800, building on decades of research, demonstrates that women artists were not such rarities. In fact, it is increasingly clear that they were both more numerous and more talented than previously suspected' - The Art Newspaper

A brand new look at the extraordinary accomplishments of early modern Italian women artists

This generously illustrated volume surveys a sweeping range of early modern Italian women artists, exploring their practice and paths to success within the male-dominated art world of the period.

New attention to archival documents and detailed technical analyses of the beautiful paintings featured here-ranging from historical subjects to portraits and still lifes-offer new insight into the ways these women worked and their accomplishments.

Essays and catalogue entries by an international team of distinguished art historians examine the works of Artemisia Gentileschi, Sofonisba Anguissola, Lavinia Fontana, Fede Galizia, Elisabetta Sirani, Giovanna Garzoni, Rosalba Carriera, and other less known Italian women artists.

Straussman-Planzer provides a useful historiography of the intersection between feminism and art history in the US, alongside analysis of the unsurprisingly short history of exhibitions dedicated to early-Modern women artists. Tostmann’s essay, “The Advantages of Painting Small: Italian Women Artists and the Matter of Scale”, is an important examination of small-scale works by women artists, dispelling the myth of miniatures as inherently inferior. Instead, he demonstrates how women used the reduced format to experiment and innovate while allowing them to disseminate their works to a wider audience. Sheila Barker’s “Art as Women’s Work: The Professionalization of Women Artists in Italy, 1350-1800” shows that, due in no small part to limitations placed on their careers, the line between professional and amateur was often fluid for women artists. Some, like Artemisia and the Bolognese painter Elisabetta Sirani, ran major workshops. Others, like Plautilla Nelli and Orsola Maddalena Caccia, pursued unconventional career trajectories from within the convent or, like Lucrezia Quistelli, as aristocratic amateurs.

Through these works of art in diverse media-from paintings to prints-the fascinating stories of early modern Italian women artists are revealed.

  • Author: Eve Straussman-Pflanzer,  curator and head of the Italian and Spanish Paintings Department at the National Gallery of Art, Washington
  • Hardcover: 192 pages 
  • Date published: October 2021
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 9780300256369
  • Product Dimensions: 29.4 x 25.8 cm

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