Originally commissioned by the Dayton Art Institute in connection with a major exhibition of Caravaggio and his Dutch followers, this lecture has expanded to include women artists from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century in Europe.
Author Lynne Lawner draws on her books about Italian Renaissance courtesans and life in the courts of Europe in the early modern period, to view women in art and women artists from an unusual perspective.
She examines “heroic” poses, as for example in paintings by the celebrated, tumultuous seventeenth century Italian artist Artemisia Gentileschi, who identifies with the warrior spirit of the Biblical Judith, but she also uncovers the sensual vision and aspirations in painting and sculpture by women, from the decorous Lavinia Fontana and Properzia dei Rossi to the bold, worldly Elisabeth Vigée le Brun and Angelika Kauffmann in the eighteenth century, unafraid to live their lives openly and even to depict famous courtesans of their era. The slides are sumptuous and varied. Connections to male painters such as Joshua Reynolds and to socialite critics such as the German Winckelmann are explored.