Tag: female artists

Migrant Mother, 1936, Dorothea Lange. Photograph

This iconic image is just one of six taken by Dorothea Lange in March of 1936 while she was working as a photographer for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). During this time she was trying, as an artist, to show the effects of the depression and humanize the situation. Lange made field notes accounting for seven children and stating that they had just sold their tires to buy food. Lange did not ask the woman’s name or history, just her age. Florence Owens Thompson, 32 at the time, was later identified as the “Migrant Mother” in 1978 and went on to say that Lange had gotten the information wrong and that they couldn’t have sold their tires for food since they did not have any tires to sell. It was also claimed that Lange had promised never to allow the photographs to be published. 

Beatrice Cenci, 1856

Created by Harriet Hosmer (1830-1908) in 1856 this magnificent sculpture depicts a fallen woman named Beatrice Cenci.  We can see that she is distraught but peaceful as she loosely holds onto a rosary with one hand while supporting her head with the other. While the craftsmanship in this piece is impeccable, the story behind its creation is a heroic one that takes place in the Middle Ages. Beatrice Cenci was executed after murdering her father who had been physically abusing her brother, mother, and herself. While the town knew of the abuse and terror this family had been through and that this was clearly a case of self defense, the papal authority (doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church) chose to take advantage of the situation in order to seize the Cenci’s property. In this amazing sculpture by Hosmer we can see that this woman is at peace with her decision and has accepted that she had to protect her family from her father. The ability to show tranquillity with such a tragic story attached is a...

Self-Portrait in a Straw Hat, 1782

Louise Élisabeth Vigée le Brun (1755-1842) has been recognized as the most important female painter of the 18th century. While her style has been considered Rococo with an interest in neoclassical painting (art inspired by classical Greek or Roman artwork). Being the daughter of a portraitist painter it is no shock that she would pursue a similar trade. By the time she was in her teens she was painting portraits professionally only to have her studio seized for practicing without a license. She then applied to Académie de Saint Luc where not only was her work exhibited but she became a member of the Académie.