The project has already compiled information about 643 historical women artists. How many can you name?
Sarah Cascone, November 2, 2018
Mary Beale, Mary Wither of Andwell (1670). Courtesy of A Space of Their Own.
Is that person male? Probably. The majority of famous artists most people can name off the top of their head are men. But that doesn’t mean that women haven’t had an important place in the history of art. And while most of them have yet to make it into the textbooks, a new illustrated database should go a long way toward providing the public with information about overlooked artists active between the 15th and 19th centuries.
The database is being compiled by researchers at Indiana University Bloomington, in collaboration with Florence’s Advancing Women Artists foundation. It is called A Space of One’s Own, after Virginia Woolf’s feminist text A Room of One’s Own.
The foundation’s founder Jane Fortune, who died in September at age 76, conceived of the database as an extension of the foundation’s mission to restore and promote the work of women artists, particularly those active in Italy. Fortune’s efforts—which thus far have identified 2,000 forgotten works and restored 61 of them—were aimed at writing women back into the history books.