Etching into the Canon: Women Artists in Early Modern Europe

By Meg Lota Brown and Kari Boyd McBride.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Our paper examines constraints on women’s production of art in early modern Europe. Social, economic, and other cultural forces discouraged women from working in genres that were held to produce “great art” and instead directed them to the confines of crafts, handiwork and other “domesticated art.” Effectively forbidden from engaging in certain genres, subject matters, and media, female artists nevertheless distinguished themselves and competed successfully for recognition during the Renaissance. Many of them were the daughters and wives of other artists, allowed to train in the family business and contribute to both its production and its income. One such group of artists was women engravers. The paper discusses the careers of five remarkably talented and successful female engravers, tracing their influence, innovations, and even international acclaim. Despite cultural hostility manifested in women’s exclusion from formal training, in the disparagement of both their natural abilities and their art, and in material impediments to their profession, a small group of female engravers from southern and northern Europe produced extraordinary and influential creative works.

Keywords: Renaissance Art, Gender, Genre, Engraving, Early Modern Europe

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.167-174. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.183MB).

Dr. Meg Lota Brown

Professor of English Literature, Department of English, College of Humanities, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA

Dr. Meg Lota Brown is professor of English at the University of Arizona. Her fields of interest are early modern literature and culture, gender studies, and Reformation religion and politics. She has two B.A.s and an M.A. from Brown University and a Ph.D. in English from the University of California at Berkeley. She has published several books and numerous articles on early modern literature and culture as well as on Renaissance women.

Dr. Kari Boyd McBride

University of Arizona, Arizona, USA

Dr. Kari Boyd McBride is associate professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and director of GEMS, the Group for Early Modern Studies, at the University of Arizona. She is the author of Country House Discourse in Early Modern England: A Cultural Study of Landscape and Legitimacy (Ashgate 2001), editor of Domestic Arrangements in Early Modern England (Dusquene 2003), and co-author with Meg Lota Brown of Women’s Roles in the Renaissance (Greenwood 2005). She maintains a web site on Amelia Lanyer. She is presently editing for publication the seventeenth-century manuscript Womans Worth, a contribution to the Woman Controversy, and co-editing a collection on Psalms in the early modern world with Linda Phyllis Austern and David Orvis. Her next book will be a study of gender and education in early modern England.

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