Women Artists – their emergence into the light

Christine Musgrove
4th December 2018, 7:00pm

The art critic David Sylvester is quoted as saying in 1992 “I always thought women couldn't be painters….That's just the way it has always been”. This view has been dispelled in recent years as male domination of the art world has waned. Women artists working in previous centuries - often well-regarded during their life-times – were written out of art history by 19th and 20th century male academics because they were few in numbers. This omission has been challenged by modern academia and the historical contribution of women artists has been reassessed with much of their work being incorporated into the main body of Western art history.


The emergence during the 20th century of more equal training and career opportunities for women has enabled them to establish a presence in the art world unknown in earlier centuries. A new public audience has judged their work on merit rather than gender. Recent developments have seen past and contemporary female artists being awarded solo exhibitions and assessed in academic publications. The popularity of their art is reflected in the soaring prices achieved within the commercial art world which has ensured that the female voice is now heard.


This lecture will chart the place of women in art from medieval times to the present day. Their working environment will be considered as will the impact of social attitudes. Finally we will look at the means by which women have emerged into the light, as artists, curators, art historians and policy makers.


About the Speaker

Christine Musgrove has studied in Oxford and Edinburgh.  She gained an MA in the History of Art from The University of Edinburgh where her primary interest was the art and architecture of the Islamic world and the multi-cultural history and artefacts of medieval Spain. The training and working practices of Christian women artists in medieval Spain ignited her interest in how women artists have fared over the centuries.


Christine has curated art exhibitions, led and lectured on many art and architectural cultural tours in Britain and abroad, and was a tutor at The University of Manchester. She spent several years teaching in a variety of adult education establishments and has lectured across the country for national organisations. She was a founder member of Mancent, where she offered a wide range of art history day schools and courses to the public. She retired to Sussex in 2016 where she continues to give talks on the history of art.


Image: An illustration in an early 13th century Psalter made by the nuns of the Benedictine Abbey of Sts Ulrich & Afra in Augsburg depicting the young nun Claricia swinging from the letter Q 

(Walters Museum, USA)



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