Sometimes, all it takes is for someone to ask the right question.

That is exactly what Jane Fortune did on a visit to Florence 12 years ago. While touring the Renaissance city’s exquisite museums and fresco-covered churches, the American philanthropist began to wonder, “Where are the women?” Her search for an answer set Fortune on a passionate quest to restore the lost legacies and artworks of Florence’s forgotten female artists, digging into museums’ archives and dusty deposits with her organization, Advancing Women Artists (AWA).

One exemplary Renaissance work that AWA has revived is The Crucifixion, which is getting its final touches over the summer before the restored painting will finally be unveiled at Italy’s San Salvi Museum this October. It’s one of many works by Sister Plautilla Nelli, a 16th-century self-taught artist and nun who was hugely famous in her time, but whom art history has forgotten. Read more