There is no doubt that art has been a huge part of everyone’s lives. Music, painting, writing, movies, all of them are things we see on a daily basis; and life would feel dull without them. After years and years of misogyny and oppression, women were finally able to pursue art. In this article, we are going to explore together important women painters from history.
One of the most known women in art is Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, born in 1907. She was heavily inspired by her culture, the nature, and the artifacts of Mexico. Even as a young woman, she was strong, and had control over her own life in a man-dominated world. She actually began painting while being bedridden due to a bus accident that left her severely injured. She was very famous for her self-portraits, which dealt with identity, the human body, and death among many other themes. Those portraits also deal with her struggle with medical issues, infertility, etc. Scholars concluded that Kahlo’s self-portraits are her way of reclaiming her body from medical issues and gender conformity. In fact, scholars also interpreted her self-portraits in the light of the tradition that male European artists use the woman’s body as the subject of their paintings. Frida Kahlo reclaims this use from such a patriarchal tradition using her own image in her paintings. It made her a feminist figure through history. Frida was such a powerful woman, she was a huge source of inspiration and empowerment for women of her generation and the ones that came after her. Until this day, People still take inspiration from her. All of this landed her a spot in this article. She left our world in 1954. One of her most famous paintings, Self-Portrait With Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940, is shown above. It was painted after her divorce from Diego Rivera and the end of her affair with photographer Nickolas Muray.
Our next powerful painter is Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun. A French painter born in 1755, she became very well-known in 1778 when she painted her first portrait of Queen Marie Antoinette. Eventually, she became the official portraitist of the French Queen, and had royalty’s support. Being very involved with the Queen, she tried making her more relatable to the people by exhibiting a painting she made of Marie Antoinette and her children, following the bad press and negative talk that the Queen had recently received. But being involved with the Queen also backfired; when the Revolution happened, revolutionists broke into her home. She left France for twelve years, where she lived in Italy, Austria, Russia, and Germany. She was self-taught with exceptional skills, which led to her success in France and even abroad. Madame Le Brun’s talent helped her get appointed as one of only four women in Paris’s Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. Before she passed away in 1842, she left us one of her most important paintings:, shown above: Marie Antoinette in a Chemise Dress, 1783
It is safe to say that if women hadn’t entered the art world, art wouldn’t have been as we know it today. The feminine touch has definitely added a lot to art and society and today, as more women are inspired by other powerful women in history, they add their touch to art as well and it will continue to evolve as long as humans continue to breathe and paint. Because art was never just a man’s thing, art will always be everybody’s thing. sources: