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Exhibition December 11, 2020 − December 4

Power and anarchy: women in Europe 1500-1680

Memphis Brooks Art Museum hosts an exhibition "Power and anarchy: women in Europe 1500-1680.".

The exhibition explores the concept of women in Europe from about 1500 to 1680, the Renaissance and early Baroque periods. Most of the work in this room was done by men. Women are presented as untouchable ideals, menacing monsters, adventurous community leaders, decorative accessories to power, and models of faith. Meanwhile, the portraits of men express their strength, talents or intelligence.

The exhibition features works by only one artist of that time, Sofonisba Angissola. This startling fact is not unusual for art or art museums. From the Renaissance to the late nineteenth century, women could not formally train as artists due to societal traditions and gender roles. Some women, such as Angissola, have used family ties to overcome the social and political constraints of their time and to be successful in their creativity. However, a long reputation depended on the opinions of later generations. Decisions about which artists are praised in history books and which museums are collected were mostly made by men. Social systems overwhelmed the talent of countless women artists lost to history.

Based on site materials Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis.