Forgotten? The Best Female Artists of The Past

June 1, 2019

Field with Cows by Marianna Koos


Many of us cannot name 10 female artists, yet our history is filled with trailblazing women whose stories challenged society and its standards.

Here are a few of these amazing women:

Caterina van Hemessen (1528–1587)

Born in today’s Netherlands, she was the first painter to create a self-portrait of an artist working on a canvas!  She perfected the technique of miniatures, creating many tiny portraits for the most important families of her era.

Lavinia Fontana (1552–1614)

Lavinia Fontana was the first Italian female artist to be granted the same favours as her male counterparts. She was the first woman to work in the artistic spheres outside a religious context, and  famous for her incredibly realistic and detailed portraits.

Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1624)

She was the first woman to enter the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence. Her work is characterized for depicting images of women in difficult and challenging moments.

Clara Peeters (1594-1653)

Trained in the style of Baroque Flemish art, she excelled in still-life paintings. She also invented an innovative way to combine still life with precious metals and objects. She was one of the first artists to include fish in her compositions. 

Anne Seymour Damer (1749–1828)

She developed her craft in the highly selective discipline of sculpture. This artistic circle was thought to be exclusive to men given the physical strength needed to manipulate the materials and tools. She managed to gain recognition and was exhibited at the Royal Academy.

Berthe Morisot (1841–1895)

While many argue that she was already living in a time of more openness for female artists, the social norms were still as rigid as in the past. She had to start as a copy artist at the Louvre in Paris; however, she also devoted her time in perfecting her craft. She was the first woman to be accepted into the Impressionist circles.

Should any of us be concerned about the gender of an artist?  Should it matter at all?When we look at art history it becomes obvious that women artists have gotten the short end of the ‘paintbrush’. Even today, man artists’ are represented more, marketed more and their artworks are still priced higher.

There is a chance to learn about these fantastic women and ensure that they are not forgotten!


Siesta by Marianna Koos


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