Our neighbour the Luxembourg Museum is preparing their next exhibition – Women Painters, 1780-1830. the Birth of a Battle with 70 works illustrating and explaining how women entered a world of classic painting that had previously been closed to them.
It’s no surprise to learn that the world of art history contains more male names than female. Sexism in society has always impeded the appreciation of women’s artistic skills.
Historically, women have been less visible and taken less seriously, and it was only in 1783 that a limited number of women began to be accepted into Paris’ Académie royale de peinture, marking the start of a slow evolution towards a late recognition.
The exhibition studies this slow change and examines why the world of art put so much energy into reducing the presence of women.
For example, women were not allowed to paint nudes, had reduced access to art lessons, were encouraged to paint less well-respected genres and – unsurprisingly – were often considered better suited to roles as simple mothers or wives.
The exhibition is in part a fight to make sure this injustice is not forgotten, showing how these women’s battles were all small steps towards the recognition and liberation of women in the societies that were to follow.