Lavinia Fontana

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Lavinia Fontana - Trailblazer, Rule Breaker 

National Gallery of Ireland until 27 August 

Lavinia Fontana is often acclaimed as 'Italy's first professional woman artist', and while you may well know the names of others who came before her, none of them managed to hold down a consistent practice outside of a royal court or convent, and so this claim, at least, is true. Elsewhere you might read that 'she rejected the types of painting traditional for women' - like flower painting - but the fact is that there was no tradition to rejected (nor was there a tradition of 'flower painting' at the time). 

She was at the forefront of showing what a woman could do, and she was the one establishing the traditions. Frankly, she painted images that would have been considered risqué even for her male contemporaries: it is believed that she was the first woman to paint the female nude, and not necessarily in images redolent of feminine charm and chastity. 

The National Gallery of Ireland is blessed with two of her paintings - one of her finest portraits, and her greatest narrative (which also happens to be an allegorical portrait), and the exhibition is a fitting tribute to a woman who was both innovative and inspirational. It is thorough, representative of her work, and sympathetically hung: you couldn't hope for a better introduction to an artist who should be better known. In an attempt to honour this, my talk will walk you round the exhibition in as much detail as time allows. 

Please remember, I do not record my talks.
Event finished
Via Zoom®
Mon 29th May 2023
6:00pm BST
75 mins