Women behind the paintbrush
Throughout history, the figure of women has been present in different artistic works in a pictorial way, either as muses or models. But where are the women behind the brush? Why don't they have a prominent space and do their art deserve to be forgotten?
To commemorate this March 8, we wanted to review the history of three great female artists, who today appear as pioneers in each of their historical eras, and are as deserving of praise as their male colleagues were.
Artemisia Gentileschi was an important Roman painter of the Baroque era, whose works were characterized by representing scenes with great drama and rawness, which were directly influenced by her experiences and the search for artistic independence.
“Self-portrait as an allegory of painting”, Artemisia Gentileschi
Being the daughter of a painter father, Artemisia was born with a talent for crafts, so she worked in the Fine Arts from a very early age, to the point that she even surpassed her older brothers in technique who had also inherited the artist gene. . However, she never imagined that her love for painting would lead her to experience a dark event that would mark her for life, and at the age of 17 she was abused by the person who would become her tutor in Arts, Agostino Tassi.
Because of this fact, Artemisia had to face, for a long time, severe interrogations and physical torture by the authorities of the time, in order to validate her innocence. From this tragic experience one of his most important works would be born, "Judith beheading Holofernes", as revenge against whoever harmed him .
However, no circumstances would overshadow Artemisia's desire to continue developing her talent and, years later, she would become the first woman to enter the Florence Academy of Design , receiving commissions for works by important personalities of the time, like the patron Cosimo de' Medici, and in which women would always be the main figure.
Hilma af Klint
Hilda af Klimt in her studio in Stockholm (1985), Courtesy of Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk
Another artist worth highlighting is Hilma af Klint, a Swedish painter from the late 19th century, who today is recognized as the true pioneer of Abstract Art, even before her contemporaries Kandinsky or Mondrian.
At age 20, Hilma had the opportunity to enter the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts , one of the few places where women were allowed to study. There, she cultivated an artistic style that would accompany her until the end of her days, influenced by spiritualism and the occult of the time.
The taste for the spiritual led her, along with five other women, to form the “Las Cinco” club, a group that met for ten years to practice spiritualism sessions, and where, in addition, they carried out writing and painting activities. according to the paranormal events that they used to experience.
It was thanks to this fascination that some of his most famous works were born, such as "The Temple Paintings", a work that took him nine years to complete and is made up of 193 paintings that - in Hilma's words - "were born from a spiritual conversation with an angel .” In them, he already demonstrated a notable approach to the genre of abstraction.
However, it was not until long after her death that these and the vast majority of the Swedish artist's works saw the light of day. It was thanks to one of his nephews deciding to expose them to the world, that in 1984 the paintings were exhibited under the title "The Spiritual of Art" , in Los Angeles, California.
The last but not least artist is Clara Peeters, a Flemish artist born in Belgium, whose peak in the arts took place during the 16th century, and is currently considered the precursor of the naturalistic genre, also known as “still life” in paint.
Woman sitting before a table of precious objects, Clara Peeters
Although little is known about Peeters' life, through what we know from his works, it is seen that he developed an artistic wealth and a unique talent, managing to captivate those who observed his work at the time he existed. limited freedom of expression. Furthermore, it is clear that she was one of the few artists who managed to develop her career, overcoming the obstacles that the time imposed on the female figure.
His art was characterized by the fact that, in each of his still lifes, he portrayed a mixture of fruits, flowers and animals - especially cats and fish - along with kitchen utensils, which made it possible to make visible part of the historical and social context in which he developed. 17th century Europe.
However, the canvases that most caught the viewer's attention were her self-portraits, since in them she usually represented herself in her role as a painter, vindicating herself in a time when the female figure was far from being seen as a creator of art.
If you want to learn more about the art of these three extraordinary artists, visit our selection dedicated to them at: