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Women & Art: Women as Artists, Patrons, and Subjects in the Art of Rome

Instructor: Prof. Cristiana Filippini [see profile]
Disciplines: Art History; Gender and Women’s Studies

The course covers major artistic periods - Antiquity, Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque - from the point of view of women’s presence as artists, patrons, and subjects of the art of Rome. It takes advantage of the richness of monuments and works of art in the Eternal City, for direct analysis and discussions in the light of women’s studies. Special importance will be given to the reading of primary sources as well as to feminist art historical scholarship, with related discussions in class. The last part of the course is a monographic study of the Roman born Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi. In last decades, art historical scholarship has re-discovered and re-evaluated this woman artist. For some scholars, her biographical experience and her career as painter have become emblematic of women’s presence in the visual arts. The course considers not only the life and career of this woman artist in its historical context, but also the impulse the study of her experience has given to women’s studies in the field of the history of art.

The course consists of both class lectures and visits to major monuments and artistic collections - e.g. major churches, Borghese Gallery, Barberini Palace, etc., and the palace of the president of Italy: the Quirinal Palace - with on site lectures and discussions focused on womenìs presence in the art of Rome. A field trip to Florence will further add to the direct study of Artemisia Gentileschi's Roman works.


  • a midterm exam
  • final paper (8-10 pages)
  • a final exam