women in the arts

One of my favorite stops on my recent DC trip was the National Museum of Women in the Arts. It was eye-opening to see art created by women from as far back as the 16th century. The galleries included detailed information about the lives of the artists and context of their work, which I really enjoyed.

I learned a lot about the challenges that faced women artists in earlier times. It was difficult to find people willing to teach them to paint, and they were barred from life drawing classes. When they were able to learn, women were often expected to stick with subjects considered fit for them and sometimes had difficulty getting proper credit for their work.

Despite those issues, there were still successful, groundbreaking women artists. As someone whose typical art museum experiences don't include many women before Mary Cassatt, it was exciting to see the range of times and styles that were represented.

Another big surprise was that I enjoyed the modern and contemporary art selections more than I typically do. There was a special exhibit of the pop art prints of Sister Mary Corita, and just standing in the room made me smile. I'm still not sure if I responded better to the more recent work because I felt like I related more to the artists or if I just thought that I should. I guess it's something to think about.

"Vivienne" by Shonagh Adelman
a bad cell phone photo of "Vivienne" by Shonagh Adelman
Things to add to my reading list:


  1. Have you read Elizabeth Kostova's The Swan Thieves? Your comment about how difficult it was for women artists in the past reminded me of it. It's a pretty fascinating novel.

    1. I haven't read that yet, but it sounds really interesting. Thanks for the recommendation!


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