By Hannah McGivern. Female Old Masters are enjoying a belated renaissance. Conservators at the Tate in London are preparing its earliest work by a woman—the newly acquired Portrait of an Unknown Lady by Joan Carlile—for display at Tate Britain in And 30 paintings by Artemisia Gentileschi—arguably the greatest female artist in history—are currently on show in Italy alongside those of her male peers at the Museo di Roma Artemisia Gentileschi and Her Times, until 7 May. Inspired by a conversation with the US-based feminist collective the Guerrilla Girls, Schmidt has pledged to show more work by women. Female artists who were successful in their own time have long languished in obscurity.
The exhibition turned out to have been curated by the British curator trio Artwise who included works by several international artists, one of which I found striking. It was a large, colorful painting with the title sentence written in childlike writing. The text was over-painted, as if corrected, propped in between naively painted birds, a crocodile, and a lion. Minimum means and maximum effect: you could see the unprimed canvas, dirt on a few spots, scarcely used paint, the narrative if any, complicated by the clearly visible construction of the painting. It was a highly energetic work: not only hilariously mocking our good human intentions, but also playing with everything we know about good and bad painting.
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