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Sydney J. Freedberg Lecture on Italian Art: “‘More perfect and excellent than men’: The Women Artists of Bologna,” Babette Bohn
Early modern Bologna was exceptional for its many talented women artists. Thanks to a long-standing tradition of honoring accomplished women, several attentive artistic biographers, strong local interest in collecting women’s work, and permissive attitudes toward women studying with male artists who were not family members, Bologna was home to more women artists than any other city in early modern Italy. Bolognese women artists were unusual not only for their large numbers but also for their varied specializations and frequent public success. They painted altarpieces, nudes, mythologies, allegories, portraits, and self-portraits, creating sculptures, drawings, prints, embroidery, and paintings. This lecture challenges some common assumptions about women artists, suggesting productive approaches for future research.

This event will present the prerecorded lecture in full, followed by a live Q&A with the lecturer.

Nov 5, 2021 01:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Babette Bohn
Professor of Art History, Texas Christian University
Babette Bohn is a specialist on Bolognese art. Her most recent book, Women Artists, Their Patrons, and Their Publics in Early Modern Bologna, was published earlier this year by the Pennsylvania State University Press. After many years of scholarship devoted to works on paper by prominent male artists, Professor Bohn’s interests have turned increasingly to issues of gender, studying women artists and the portrayal of women in Italian art. She has contributed to several exhibitions on women artists, beginning with a major monographic exhibition on Elisabetta Sirani in 2004 and most recently an exhibition on Italian women artists currently at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut. Her current research expands into Italian cities beyond Bologna, examining women’s artistic education, their production of drawings, and the role of gender in shaping attitudes toward women artists after their deaths.