More than muses: A feminist guide to art history
Do women have to be naked to get into a national gallery? The Guerrilla Girls put this question to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1989 via their iconic poster proclaiming that ‘less than 5% of the artists in the modern art sections are women, but 85% of the nudes are female.’
Find out how women have broken into and reshaped the ‘boys’ club’ art establishment; whether the female nude can survive #MeToo; and how women leaders are redressing the balance when it comes to the representation of women artists.
This course explores the work of women artists, patrons, collectors, art writers, and leaders in the arts. It considers how women have represented themselves in paintings, the challenges women artists grapple with, and how feminism has opened up an alternative history of art.
On this course you will hear from Gallery experts and some feisty guest speakers. Expect their provocative talks to get you thinking, even if you take a different view.
Module one: Breaking into the boy’s club
Why have women artists not achieved the status of their male counterparts? What barriers have they faced and how have some women beaten the odds?
Week one: 22 March 2019
Why have there been no great women artists?
Tutor: Katy Tarbard and Nicola McCartney
What difficulties did women who wanted careers as artists face? Katy Tarbard discusses the barriers to professional status for women artists from the Renaissance to the 19th century, and some of the ways in which they were able to overcome them.
After the break, Nicola McCartney reflects on why women artists are still underrepresented in museums. How are groups like the Guerrilla Girls campaigning for change?
Week two: Friday 29 March
What women paint
Tutor: Belle Smith
What subjects have women traditionally painted? And which women artists have defied conventions?
After the break, we reflect on the issues women artists engage with today. How are they responding to #MeToo?
Week three: 5 April
Rebel girls and the establishment
Tutor: Christina Bradstreet and Annette Wickham
Find out how women artists professionalised in the 19th and 20th centuries, gaining greater access to art education and increased representation by prominent dealers.
After the break, Annette Wickham discusses the pioneering role of female Royal Academicians. Discover the women who fought to be a part of the Royal Academy’s foundation – and the ones helping to secure the Academy’s future.
Week four: 12 April 2019
Makers and muses
Tutor: Carol Jacobi
Discover two side-lined female artists. Carol Jacobi discusses the status of artist and poet Elizabeth Siddal, best known as the wife and muse of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
After the break, Carol Jacobi presents new research on the painter Isabel Rawsthorne, whose art has been eclipsed by her renown as muse to giants of the Modernist canon, among them Jacob Epstein, Alberto Giacometti, and Pablo Picasso.
Week five: 19 April 2019
Feminism and art history
Allison Deutsch discusses the importance of the work of the late feminist art historian, Linda Nochlin. How did the iconic article, ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’ impact art history?
After the break, she discusses how the work of feminist art historians has transformed our understanding of 19th-century French women artists, including Rosa Bonheur, Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, and Eva Gonzalès.
Breaking into the boy’s club is Module one of our three module course ‘More than muses: A feminist guide to art history’.
Image above: Detail from Edouard Manet, Eva Gonzalès, 1870