Milan, large all-female exhibition dedicated to women artists of the 16th and 17th centuries

Palazzo Reale in Milan is hosting a major all-female exhibition in 2021, dedicated to the ladies of art active between the 16th and 17th centuries, from Artemisia to Fede Galizia.

Palazzo Reale in Milan will host from February 5 to June 6, 2021 the major exhibition Le signore dell’arte. Stories of women between the 1500s and 1600s, curated by Alain Tapié, Anna Maria Bava and Gioia Mori.

Over one hundred and fifty works through which the art and lives of thirty-four women artists will be told, including some of the best known and others less known to the general public, such as the Roman noblewoman Claudia del Bufalo. The works on display come from sixty-seven major Italian and international museum venues, such as the Uffizi Galleries, the Capodimonte Museum, the Pinacoteca di Brera, the Castello Sforzesco, the Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria, the Galleria Borghese, the Musei Reali in Turin, the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Bologna, the Musée des Beaux Arts in Marseille, and the Muzeum Narodowe in Poznan, Poland.

Thirty-four women artists lived from the 16th and 17th centuries, bearing witness to an intense all-female creative vitality: stories of women who were already modern. Some paintings will be exhibited for the first time.

Among them is Artemisia Gentileschi, daughter of Orazio, who became an icon of artistic activity in those years; an artist and entrepreneur, her art rivals that of the same male painters of the time. An example of a struggle against paternal authority and artistic power and against the confinement reserved for women. By Sofonisba Anguissola, a Cremonese who lived more than ten years at the court of Philip II in Madrid, then moved to Sicily where she was visited by Antoon van Dyck in 1624, works such as the Partita e scacchi (1555) and for the first time the Madonna dell’Itria Altarpiece (1578) will be on display. Lavinia Fontana, a native of Bologna and daughter of Mannerist painter Prospero Fontana, will be on display with fourteen works, includingSelf-Portrait in the Studio (1579), Consecration to the Virgin (1599) and several paintings of mythological subjects of rare sensuality. And again, the Bolognese painter Elisabetta Sirani, on display with canvases depicting female courage and rebellion in the face of male violence; Ginevra Cantofoli, with Young Woman in Oriental Dress (active in the second half of the 17th century); Fede Galizia with the iconic Judith with the Head of Holofernes (1596); and Giovanna Garzoni, a very modern woman who lived between Venice, Naples, Paris and Rome, on display with rare and precious scrolls.

The exhibition is part of the I talenti delle donne (Women’s Talents) program, promoted by the Culture Department of the City of Milan, which until April 2021 intends to focus attention on women, their works, and their skills.

The exhibition project is realized with the support of Fondazione Bracco, the exhibition’s main sponsor.

For more info:

Image: Faith Galicia, Judith with the Head of Holofernes, detail (1596; oil on canvas, 141 x 108 cm; Rome, Galleria Borghese).

Milan, large all-female exhibition dedicated to women artists of the 16th and 17th centuries
Milan, large all-female exhibition dedicated to women artists of the 16th and 17th centuries

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