Episode #20: Sofonisba Anguissola: Great (Woman) Artist by Jennifer Dasal

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Earlier this spring, I saw a hashtag making the rounds online, especially on Twitter and Instagram. Half the time, I only just vaguely pay attention to the trending terms on social media, but this one hit me right away. For a lot of people, including myself, it was like seeing an old beloved friend again- because this isn’t a new hashtag. It’s over a year old and was initiated originally by the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with Women’s History Month, celebrated every year in March.  It read #5WomenArtists and was meant as a kind of dare. As the museum’s digital editorial assistant, Emily Haight, posted on their blog, “Ask someone to name five artists and responses will likely include names such as Warhol, Picasso, van Gogh, Monet, da Vinci—all male artists. Ask someone to name five women artists, and the question poses more of a challenge.”

It’s a sad, but true, statement. Can many of us--especially those without in-depth artistic training or interest-- really name five or more women artists? Maybe, if you’re lucky, you can remember Frida Kahlo or Georgia O’Keeffe. And bonus points if you can recall our previous discussion on Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun. But especially in terms of artists who were around prior to the 20th century, the game grows much harder.

Why? What’s the problem of the woman artist? And how can we fix it?  Today, we’re talking about women artists-- the historical difficulties in becoming an artist, the challenges present therein, and the limitations and legacies of one very important Renaissance painter.

Today’s special episode of ArtCurious is the end result of a collaboration with art historian Ellen Oreddson and her excellent blog, How to Talk About Art History. Ellen has her own contribution to this topic on her site, where she lists five artists, inspired by the five women artists hashtag, and briefly discusses why each has been left out of the traditional art historical canon. Don't miss this insightful and fascinating post!

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Want more art-historical goodness? Check out the links below:

Italy Magazine: Sofonisba Anguissola- A Renaissance Woman

Smarthistory: Sofonisba Anguissola

ArtNews: Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?

National Museum of Women in the Arts Blog: Challenge Accepted: Can You Name Five Women Artists?

Episode #19: Conservation and Controversy by Jennifer Dasal

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Conservators are art heroes: they transform damaged or dirty works of art into beautiful, fresh works for public consumption. Then why is it that conservation has been at the center of some of the biggest art historical controversies of the last fifty years? What does a conservator really do, and what happens when conservation goes too far?          

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Many thanks to the incredible Stephanie Pryor for research assistance!

There are some excellent books that I used for this episode.  Buy our recommended books from Barnes and Noble, below. ArtCurious has a relationship with Barnes and Noble, and will receive a small percentage of sales. Please support our podcast by purchasing from them- and you get FREE SHIPPING if you spend $25 or more! 

BONUS EPISODE: What is Art? (With A Thousand Things to Talk About) by Jennifer Dasal

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We are incredibly thrilled to release a bonus episode with our friend, Andrea Parrish, at A Thousand Things to Talk About! This daily podcast is the perfect start to your morning, with a brief 2-3 minute episode with thought-provoking questions and research. A Thousand Things to Talk About also offers the occasional "deep dive," and we're so excited to be a part of this one-- What is Art? It's a question that seems simple, but in reality, is it?

Listen here, and subscribe and review A Thousand Things to Talk About. Follow the show at the links below! And don't forget to  SUBSCRIBE and REVIEW our show along the way, too!

@musetopics on Twitter

@musetopics on Instagram

@musetopics on Facebook

Want more art-historical goodness? Check out the links below:

The Art Story on Dada

The New York Times: Is it Art? Is it Good? And Who Says So?

The Brooklyn Rail: Is it Possible to Define Art?

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: The Definition of Art

First Principles: The Treasonous Clerk: St. Augustine and the Meaning of Art

Book recommendation: Mosche Barasch, Modern Theories of Art 2: From Impressionism to Kandinsky

MoMA: "But is it Art?" Constantin Brancusi vs. the United States

Obscenity Case Files: Miller vs. California

Art on Trial: The Arts, the 1st Amendment, and the Courts

Episode #18: Diagnosis: Art History by Jennifer Dasal

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Over the centuries, there have been numerous examples of fine artists creating works of art that deliberately work with and within contemporaneous medical thought, portraying people with particular ailments or diseases. But what about if we turn that concept around a little bit? What happens when those in the medical field turn to paintings or sculptures from the past and retroactively investigate the health of the individuals depicted therein? What happens when art history turns into a diagnosis?                

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Recommended reading: Buy our recommended books from Barnes and Noble, below. ArtCurious has a relationship with Barnes and Noble, and will receive a small percentage of sales. Please support our podcast by purchasing from them- and you get FREE SHIPPING if you spend $25 or more! 
 

Episode #17: The Casino of the Spirits by Jennifer Dasal

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Venice-- it's the most serene and beautiful city in Italy, and possibly the whole world. But Venice at night-- all darkened and quiet-- takes up the most space in my imagination. I seriously love the depictions of Venice as enigmatic, shadowy, and even dangerous. Without cars or streetlights or other modern comforts, you might feel like you’ve stepped back in time and that around any given corner, you could find… anything. All of this lends Venice this air of inscrutability and mystery. And over time, locals and visitors alike have reveled in this sensation as fodder for myth-making and storytelling. Some stories really stick, lasting for centuries and becoming embedded into the city itself, through its buildings, monuments, and specific locations. And there’s one building that has had plenty of legends built around it. This particular elegant structure had an illustrious past, having once been a meeting place where Italian Renaissance artists discussed their craft, caroused, and gambled. But it’s also the location where relationships soured, crimes were committed, and death inevitably followed. Today, some people won’t even enter this particular building because it is feared to be haunted, cursed… or both.

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Recommended reading: Buy our recommended books from Barnes and Noble, below. ArtCurious has a relationship with Barnes and Noble, and will receive a small percentage of sales. Please support our podcast by purchasing from them- and you get FREE SHIPPING if you spend $25 or more! 

Episode #16: The Muse by Jennifer Dasal

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Sometimes when I am looking at a particularly fascinating work of art, I find myself overwhelmed with awe-- for the creative act itself and the technical prowess that was needed to bring it to fruition. I’ve often had those moments where I have thought to myself, “Wow. How did this all come about? What is the inspiration behind this piece?” And any conversation about inspiration in the arts inevitably brings up a discussion about muses. This episode looks at the relationship--and occasional romance-- between artists and their muses, with a particular emphasis on one woman whose connection to two brothers illustrates this exchange in a compelling way. 

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Recommended reading: Buy our recommended books from Barnes and Noble, below. ArtCurious has a relationship with Barnes and Noble, and will receive a small percentage of sales. Please support our podcast by purchasing from them- and you get FREE SHIPPING if you spend $25 or more! 

Want more art-historical goodness? Check out the links below:

Artventures Blog: Manet and Morisot: The Tale of Love and Sadness in the Portraits

Saper Galleries: The Women of Pablo Picasso

Huffington Post: Ten Amazing Female Artists and Their Male Muses

The Telegraph: Picasso's Muses

Projection Systems Blog: The Origin of Painting

Episode #15: Hans-Joachim Bohlmann and Serial Art Vandalism by Jennifer Dasal

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A few months ago, I began looking into occurrences of art vandalism-- the purposeful destruction or harm of works of art that have occurred consistently, especially throughout the 20th century. As I read up, I saw that most of these events were one-offs: single moments where one person made a rash and ridiculous choice to lash out at a particular work of art. But then, I began to notice one name popping up over and over again- a German man who, over his lifetime, damaged over fifty works of art, creating a name for himself and a lasting impression on the art world. This episode, in a continuation of our Bigger Picture series, digs deeper into art attacks and examine the life and legacy of the vandal Hans-Joachim Bohlmann.

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Episode #14: Samuel F. B. Morse's Gallery of the Louvre by Jennifer Dasal

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How many know that the inventor of the telegraph and co-creator of Morse code--Samuel F. B. Morse-- was a successful artist, too? And crazily enough, one of his paintings in particular, foreshadowed his interest in communication tools, providing the impetus for revolutionizing communication--and, indeed, the world as we know it. Listen in for details on Morse's masterpiece, Gallery of the Louvre.               

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If you're based in the Southern U.S., do not miss the exhibition Samuel F. B. Morse's Gallery of the Louvre and the Art of Invention at Reynolda House Museum of American Art. Buy your tickets here and check this site for further details! 

Recommended reading: Buy our recommended books from Barnes and Noble, below. ArtCurious has a relationship with Barnes and Noble, and will receive a small percentage of sales. Please support our podcast by purchasing from them- and you get FREE SHIPPING if you spend $25 or more! 

Episode #13: Diego and Frida, Part 2 by Jennifer Dasal

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Glamour. Curiosity. Excitement. A love story for the ages. Such are the types of descriptors that you hear when you ponder the life and love of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Truly, in the pantheon of great artistic relationships, they are one of the top couples out there. And they had the great fortune, or whatever you want to call it, of living their exciting lives in front of the camera, as well as on canvas. Google them, and all kinds of lovey-dovey images come up-- images of Diego nuzzling Frida, images of them kissing, of her embracing him around his wide middle section. But what some people neglect, or possibly even forget, is that their relationship was by no means perfect. There were great ups, of course, but the downs? Incredible. Even Diego Rivera himself was aware of this fact, later writing, quote, “If I ever loved a woman, the more I loved her, the more I wanted to hurt her. Frida was the most obvious victim of this disgusting trait.” Harsh words. But would they always be that way?                       

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Episode #12: Diego and Frida, Part 1 by Jennifer Dasal

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There’s something a little strange about the pairing of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Certainly it’s the surprise of a pairing of seeming opposites, at least from a physical standpoint-- she the small, seductive, and somewhat frail painter whose subject matter referred to the most intimate sides of her own life; he, the large and somewhat brutish muralist whose large-scale works touched upon revolution and justice and larger issues of Mexican history. There’s almost a Beauty and the Beast quality there, and for many of us, the relationship between these two artists is just as intriguing as their creative output. And especially when it comes to Frida’s art, it’s very hard to separate their love from their artistic legacy. But how did it begin? And what is it about these two that makes them so fascinating, even 60 years later?

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Recommended reading: Buy our recommended books from Barnes and Noble, below. ArtCurious has a relationship with Barnes and Noble, and will receive a small percentage of sales. Please support our podcast by purchasing from them- and you get FREE SHIPPING if you spend $25 or more!