Women of genius.
Women artists and their companions
The Bucerius Kunst Forum is showing Genial Frauen. Women Artists and their Compan ions, the Bucerius Kunst Forum presents the careers of outstanding women artists from the 16th to the 18th century. For the first time, the family context in which the women artists developed their careers is addressed and made visible through juxtaposition with works by their fathers, brothers, husbands, and fellow painters. Often forgotten today, the women artists of their time were extraordinarily successful in any family constellation: they became court painters, teachers, entrepreneurs, but also publishers and, moreover, received the highest honors.
The exhibition presents about 30 women artists and 150 works, among others by Sofonisba Anguissola, Judith Leyster, Marietta Robusti (Tintoretto's daughter) and Angelika Kauffmann. Masterful portraits, still lifes and histories in painting, drawing and prints from the Renaissance, through the Baroque period to the beginning of Classicism from all over Europe will be brought together in Hamburg. For the first time, works by female artists will be juxtaposed with those of their male colleagues in such a pointed way that both formal and stylistic similarities and differences will become clear.
It was possible for women to pursue a career as an artist in the early modern period, but it was not planned and was therefore always subject to special challenges. In order to practice a profession freely, it was necessary to belong to a guild, but this was denied to women, depending on the region, or otherwise provided with hurdles and costs. A conspicuously large number of female artists active at this time therefore came from families of artists or were married into such families. They worked for their fathers, brothers, and husbands, and often worked in secret. At the royal courts of Europe, the situation was different: Open-minded about actual artistic achievement - regardless of origin or gender - women were able to work openly as artists at court. Women artists such as Lavinia Fontana, Anna Dorothea Therbusch, and Rachel Ruysch asserted themselves in their time against social norms and thus enjoyed high recognition among their contemporaries. That they fell into oblivion is also due to the history of art scholarship, in which a male gaze predominated until the advanced 20th century.
The exhibition shows the unique careers of these early women artists and offers new insights into their lives and work, as well as food for thought on contemporary issues such as equality and the reconciliation of work and family life.This content has been machine translated.