International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day

Featured image: Portrait of a Lady with a Dog, 1590s, Lavinia Fontana.

I’m in project research and development mode, seeking opportunities and looking forward to painting again soon.

I am currently very much inspired by Italy’s first female professional painter, Lavinia Fontana, 1552 – 1614. She was hugely successful and yet is still less well know that her male contemporaries. She lived and worked in Bologna in the late Renaissance and I’m impressed by her approach to painting and to life, working while having 11 children. Her husband cared for them while giving her some support as studio assistant.  Like her I am seeking to express, through contemporary painting, a new and unique perspective on figure and fashion.

Bologna celebrated and nurtured it’s female artists. They benefitted from a liberal university that inluded women. They were praised by writers and Lavina Fontana had wealthy patrons including Pope Gregory xIII. This in turn inspired and encouraged many other women to pursue artistic careers.

My other recent discovery is The National Museum of Women in the Arts, in Washington, D.C., which is the first museum solely dedicated to championing women through the arts and attempting to challenge the gender imbalance in the history and presentation of art.

It would be an enlightening place to visit and I am especially keen to see

two Lavina Fontana paintings there; the Marriage Portrait of a Bolognese Noblewoman, 1590 and Portrait of Costanza Alidosi, 1595.

Lavinia Fontana, Portrait of a Noblewoman, ca. 1580; Oil on canvas, 45 1/4 x 35 1/4 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay; Funding for the frame generously provided by the Texas State Committee; Photo by Lee Stalsworth

Marriage Portrait of a Bolognese Noblewoman, 1590

Lavinia Fontana, Portrait of Costanza Alidosi, ca. 1595; Oil on canvas, 62 x 47 3/8 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay; Photo by Lee Stalsworth

Portrait of Costanza Alidosi, 1595

Have a great week,

Fiona

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