More than muses: A feminist guide to art history: Module two: Women on canvas

Friday 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31 May, 2–4pm

Sainsbury Wing Theatre

Penny Huntsman, Letizia Treves, Katy Tarbard, Francesca Whitlum-Cooper, Deborah Cherry, Clare Gannaway, Christina Bradstreet, Belinda Smith

Book for individual weeks: £40/£38 conc./£35 Members & Patrons - 

Friday 3 May - BOOK TICKETS
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Friday 24 May - BOOK TICKETS
Friday 31 May - BOOK TICKETS

Book for the entire module: £195/£185 conc./£170 Members & Patrons - BOOK TICKETS

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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 two: Women on canvas

Week one: 3 May 2019

Painted ladies

Tutor: Penny Huntsman

From goddesses to witches, and from virgins to temptresses, how have women been represented in art? Do male and female artists represent women differently?

After the break, Penny Huntsman considers how Artemisia Gentileschi’s ‘Judith beheading Holofernes’ differs from versions painted by her male contemporaries? To what extent should her rape inform the way we read this painting?

Week two: 10 May 2019

A picture of motherhood

Tutor: Katy Tarbard and Belle Smith

How have male and female artists depicted motherhood? And how have women artists perceived the impact of motherhood on the art they produce?

After the break, Belle Smith discusses the art of Berthe Morisot, who defied the social norms of her time to join the Parisian avant-garde. She depicted scenes of motherhood and private, intimate moments of women's lives.

Week three: 17 May 2019

Seeing ourselves: Women’s self portraits

Tutor: Francesca Whitlam-Cooper and Letizia Treves

Curator Letizia Treves discusses the National Gallery’s recent acquisition of Artemisia Gentileschi's Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria.

After the break, curator Francesca Whitlam-Cooper explains what self-portraits by Rosalba Carriera and Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun tell us about how women artists lived, worked, and saw themselves?

Week four: Wednesday 22 May 2019

The female nude

Many male artists have felt the urge to paint the female nude! Belle Smith discusses some iconic representations of the female nude by male and female artists. She explores how contemporary female artists such as Jenny Saville and Cornelia Parker have challenged the ideal of the female nude, in paintings that are personal, brave, iconic, raw or erotic.

After the break, Christina Bradstreet discusses Degas’s representation of women in the context of 19th-century ideas of gender and race.

Week five: 31 May 2019

Can the female nude survive #MeToo?

Can women artists escape the legacy of the ‘male gaze’ in their depictions of other women? What are the power dynamics in paintings by women of men? We consider ‘the female gaze’.

After the break curator Clare Gannaway joins Deborah Cherry to reflect on an intervention at Manchester City Art Gallery by artist Sonia Boyce, in which Waterhouse’s ‘Hylas and the Nymphs’ was removed from display to provoke conversation.

Women in the picture is Module two of our three-module course ‘More than muses: A feminist guide to art history’.

See Module one: Breaking into the boy's club

See Module three: Movers and shakers

Image above: Detail from Artemisia Gentileschi, Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria, about 1615–17