Women and the Visual Arts

Jacqueline Marie Musacchio

in Renaissance and Reformation

ISBN: 9780195399301
Published online June 2011 | | DOI:
Women and the Visual Arts

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)
  • Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy


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The relationship between women and art in the Renaissance and Reformation across Europe is still a relatively new area of study, and recent scholarship indicates considerable interest in all aspects of it. Women’s engagement with the arts might be categorized into three broad themes: women as artists, patrons, and subjects. This is perhaps the best way to look at this phenomenon, and a great many art historians, cultural historians, and other scholars have used these themes to structure their inquiries. Within these three themes, however, it is important to note that the women in question were almost always of the middle and upper classes, and they lived in urban settings; these were the women who, via familial wealth or, in some cases, their own resources, could afford encounters with art. Much of the scholarship on this topic has been biased toward cities on the Italian peninsula, where contextual research on economic, political, and social conditions provides a strong foundation across the chronological span. But new work on the Dutch Republic and Tudor and Stuart England, as well as occasional studies in other countries and eras, indicates that this burgeoning field will only become more popular in the near future.

Article.  8933 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945) ; Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy

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