5 extraordinary female artists who have left a mark in the History of Art

The world of art is historically a world dominated by men, very little has been said about women artists compared to men artists, but this does not mean that there have not been women who have left their permanent mark in the history of art. Today we want to remember five great artists who have given their contribution to the world of art from the Renaissance to today.

Artemisia Gentileschi
It is impossible to talk about women in the history of art without mentioning the famous Artemisia Gentileschi, a Roman painter of the Caravaggio school, active during the first half of the 17th century.
Her father was the well-known painter Orazio, but although Artemisia was born into art, it was not at all easy for her to create a place for herself in this world. This passion of hers was indeed the cause of her greatest pain, because it brought her under the guidance of the painter Agostino Tassi, master of trompe-l'œil perspective, who sexually abused her, taking advantage of Orazio's absence. Following what happened, the man even promised to marry her to make up for the "damage", a promise that ultimately he didn’t keep, and Artemisia, being the strong woman that she was, never accepted to bow her head and let Tassi go unpunished. She reported the incident and brought a trial against the painter, that even led her to suffer public humiliation and physical torture. Despite this, she never retracted her testimony. Agostino Tassi was eventually found guilty and sentenced to exile from Rome, a sentence which however he never served because he had Roman clients who required his presence in the city.
Artemisia had to move to Florence to leave that horrible story behind her, but her pains were not entirely in vain, she became a symbol of international feminism and went down in history as a woman determined to fight for her rights and to pursue her artistic career, despite the prejudices and enormous difficulties she encountered.
Artemisia was truly an excellent artist and too often her personal affairs took precedence over her talent. She was able to masterfully learn the lessons of Caravaggio and to give her works of similar dramatic and theatrical emphasis.
One of her most famous paintings is undoubtedly Judith Beheading Holofernes (1616-17) preserved in the Uffizi Gallery, of which there is also another version in the Capodimonte Museum in Naples.

Fede Galizia
Fede Galizia was a painter contemporary of Artemisia Gentileschi, also born into art, who began working in her father's workshop when she was only 12 years old.
Known mainly for her still life paintings, she is in fact considered the initiator of the still life genre together with Ambrogio Figino and Caravaggio.
She specialized in paintings of centerpieces, flowers and fruit arrangements painted with exceptional precision and attention to details.
Her painting A Glass compote with Peacher, jasmine flowers, quinces and a grasshopper was  sold for over 2 million euros at an auction at Sotheby's.

Tamara de Lempicka

The Polish painter Tamara de Lempicka (born Maria Gurwik-Górska) arrived in France from St. Petersburg fleeing from the Russian revolutionary uprisings. In Paris she joined the Art Déco movement and became an icon of the 1920s.
She was an eccentric and fascinating artist, she depicted women as provocative and haughty, very elegant and seductive. Women with a strong character painted with equally strong and lively colours. Her style was characterized by the depiction of statue-like figures through the use of well-defined lines and volumes, and colors applied in flat color fields.
The pop star Madonna has become one of the main collectors of the works of Tamara de Lempicka, and she has often taken inspiration from the works of the Polish painter for her outfits, contributing to the rediscovery of this artist in modern times.

Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo was certainly one of the most important painters of the last century, perhaps the best-known female artist in the world. The Mexican painter was born in Coyoacán in 1907 and became famous for her self-portraits of eccentric charm, in which the woman recounts herself ad her story by mixing reality and imagination.
Frida was an independent and passionate woman, endowed with great inner strength and exceptional artistic talent. Unfortunately, she lived a difficult life, marked by serious health problems.
She spent a long time bedridden, first due to severe polio and later after being in a car accident that fractured her spine and pelvis.
It was at this juncture that she began to dedicate herself to painting. Her parents had given her paints and brushes to help her pass the time in bed, and they also installed mirrors on the ceiling so she could portray herself.
At the age of 22 she married the painter Diego Rivera, theirs was a stormy marriage marked by mutual betrayals and ended in divorce after 10 years of relationship. Frida suffered two miscarriages caused by the repercussions of the accident that had fractured her pelvis in her youth.
She then suffered for the news about Diego and his sister having an affair, and in addition to this she had to have her leg amputated following a gangrene. She fell into deep depression and died at just 47 years old, after living a life full of pain and loneliness. Her physical and mental health led her to attempt suicide on different occasions by taking opioids.
Yet, her art has left a profound mark on society: Frida Kahlo is still talked about today and she has become a global icon of fashion and feminism.
Frida did not like social conventions. She was openly polygamous and bisexual, wore flashy jewellery, traditional clothes and flower crowns, refused to shave her mustache and eyebrows, and all this contributed to the creation of a very recognizable character with a style that still today is a source of inspiration for many creatives and stylists.

Yayoi Kusama
At 95 years old, Yayoi Kusama, a multifaceted and extremely successful Japanese artist, has works exhibited in the most prestigious museums in the world, such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Modern in London, the Center Pompidou in Paris or the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo. A self-portrait of hers is also on display in the Uffizi.
Yayoi made art her form of therapy by starting to paint as a child, when she began having emotional disorders. Through her works she managed to externalize her inner world, made up of colored pumpkins covered with dots, tentacles that come out of the ground, plants and flowers that grow up to the ceiling. Psychedelic works, of absolutely unique and extravagant style, just like the artist herself, who is immediately recognizable for her bob haircut and brightly colored clothes that often reflect the motifs of her creations.
Yayoi Kusama is an energetic artist, who loves art so much that she continues to cultivate this passion despite the challenges of old age.

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