Thursday, November 29, 2012

5 women artists

The 19th century to the 20th century was a very unique period of time for artists. Throughout the course of the semester we have learned and discussed various artists both male and female. However, there are certain women artists that first come to mind when discussing gender, race, and art history.  And as time progressed women artist started to become more and more popular. They became more involved with society and culture.
 Emily Mary Osborn was an English painter during the Victorian era that is best known for her painting Nameless and Friendless.  She grew up in Essex where she began to display her talent in painting. Her mother would watch as Emily drew portraits of her siblings and encouraged her.  She later moved to London where she showed her work in the annual Royal Academy exhibits at only seventeen years old. Her 1857 piece Nameless and Friendless has been called “The most ingenious of all Victorian widow pictures.” It shows, what appears to be a widow, in the middle of a store accompanied by a child which is also assumed to be hers. The woman is dressed in black and seems to be very sad which allows the audience to assume she has lost her husband. In the left side of the painting there is a small group of men watching her in, what may be confusion or anger. She is the only female in the store and she is not accompanied by any man therefore, the men are baffled.
A women artist that comes to mind when talking about gender and art history is Artemisia Gentileschi. As a little girl it was clear that she was more talented than her siblings. At 17 years old she became known for her painting Susanna and the Elders. Due to the fact that she was a female she was not accepted into any painting academy. Her painting shows a nude woman in the center. It appears that the elders are harassing her because she is turned away from them. The elders are talking about something and it almost appears as if one of the elders is trying to talk the other out of doing something. Some believe that this painting is based off on something that Gentileschi experienced in her life. 
 Anna Elizabeth Blunden was a woman artist of the mid 1800s where women were on their own. In her painting The Seamstress the viewer can see how the woman is the painting is looking out the window and, what may be, praying for a better life. Blunden shows life as a worker through this painting. “Several Victorian painters took up the defense of the overworked and exploited seamstress, in particular Richard Redgrave. This picture, like Redgrave's, is inspired by Hood's poem ‘The Song of The Shirt,’ first published in Punch in 1843. Miss Blunden developed a crush on Ruskin, and pestered him with letters asking for help and advice (published by Virginia Surtees in Sublime and Instructive, 1972” (Seamstress).
 Another very famous female artist was Lilly Martin Spencer. Spencer was different than most artists who usually painted about sadness or suicide. She was known for painting warm, happy, domestic scenes of women and children.  She was born in Exeter, England where she lived until she was eight. After leaving England her family eventually wound up in Marietta, Ohio where Lilly began her artistic career.  In her painting Domestic Happiness she portrays a happy family. There are two children in a crib and the parents are watching over them.
 The last artist I chose is one of the most interesting artists that we have discussed so far, in my opinion, Sally Mann. Mann is a photography best known for using her own children as the subjects (she as two daughters).  She made her debut at The Putney School with a nude photograph of a classmate. “Sally Mann took her first photography class at The Putney School. She claims her main reason for taking that class was so she could have time alone with her boyfriend in the darkroom, according to one biography of Sally Mann. Obviously she did more than make out with her boyfriend because Mann’s debut – a nude photo of a classmate – happened while she was at Putney” (Biography).  She is currently working on portraits that include slavery and intimate family life images.


                                                                     Works Cited
"About Sally Mann: Biography & Photographs." Bright Hub. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. <>.
 "Emily Mary Osborn- Nameless and Friendless." Emily Mary Osborn- Nameless and Friendless.Web. 29 Nov. 2012. <>.
“" The Seamstress" by Anna Elizabeth Blunden.” "The Seamstress" by Anna Elizabeth Blunden.  Web. 29 Nov. 2012. <>.

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