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This acclaimed study challenges the assumption that great women artists, such as Artemisia Gentileschi, are exceptions who "transcended" their sex in achieving major works of art. In fact, many other women have produced paintings, sculptures, and crafts since the Middle Ages, and have been neglected. Whitney Chadwick provides much more than an alternative canon of women artists: she reexamines the works themselves and the ways in which they have been perceived as marginal, often in direct reference to gender. In her discussion of feminism, and its influence on such a reappraisal, the author also addresses the closely related issues of ethnicity, class, and sexuality. Since Women, Art, and Society was first published in 1990, globalization, rapidly shifting demographic and geographic realities, and an explosion of new technologies have transformed the ways we think about the world, and prompted yet more critical consideration of how gender, sexual difference, race, and culture intersect. In an additional chapter for this expanded edition, Chadwick reflects on the new globalism in the visual arts and brings the discussion up to date by focusing on the many biennials, triennials, and other international art shows that have emerged during the 1990s to provide an important forum for a whole range of women artists from around the world. 303 illustrations, 79 in color.
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Whitney Chadwick is Professor of Art at San Francisco State University. Her most recent publications include Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement, Significant Others, and Amazons in the Drawing Room: The Art of Romaine Brooks.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Like many women artists of the time, Gentileschi and Sirani were the daughters of painters. Orazio Gentileschi was one of the most important of Caravaggio's followers; Giovanni Andrea Sirani a pupil and follower of Reni, and an artist of considerably less interest than his daughter. Gentileschi is the first woman artist in the history of Western art whose historical significance is unquestionable. In the case of Sirani, her early death has prevented a full evaluation of her career despite her evident fame during her life. Sirani's father took all of her income from a body of work which she herself, following a custom gaining favor during the seventeenth century, catalogued at 150 paintings, a figure now considered too low. Despite her catalogue, no monograph exists and her reputation has suffered from an over-attribution of inferior works in Reni's style to her.
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