Where are all the women artists?


Saturday announced itself with a sunny outlook. My plan was to head out and make my way to the Pinacoteca di Brera. The Pinacoteca contains one of the best collections of Italian paintings, particularly religious works, many of them large altarpieces. Consequently I was administered more than my share of madonnas with babies, annunciations and crucifixions. One thing that stood out for me – not just on this Saturday, but on Sunday as well – that most of these art galleries mainly represent art made by men. Women are sorely under-represented and I know there are historical reasons for this, but I can only hope that for contemporary art this trend is reversing. The only work by a female artist I saw yesterday was a self-portrait by Sofonisba Anguissola, which was my favourite work yesterday in the Pinacoteca, and not because she was a woman, but it was such a delicate and yet cheeky painting. Her eyes look at you whether you are standing straight in front of it or sideways.


Having finished with the Pinacoteca, I walked over to Corso Buenos Aires, which is where the normal people shop; those that haven’t got well-padded chequebooks. To my delight I discovered a French-style pharmacy that had lots of pharmacy brands to choose from and good prices (Parashop on Corso Buenos Aires – not far from Porta Venezia). After walking up and down and as I got close to Portages Venezia again there seemed to be an accumulation of people and police cars; then I saw TV cameras and soon realised I had walked into a doorstop interview of one of the deputy PMs (Matteo Salvini) here in Italy. Rather than photobomb that, I chose to beat a hasty retreat. Finished the day with a nice glass of wine and a homemade cheese and meat platter.


Sunday was the absolute opposite of the previous day in terms of weather: it was cold, grey and sleeting. I headed off for the Museo del 900 near Duomo, with a quick detour through the Max Mara outlet (around the corner from my office – great for genuine Max Mara coats for around 300 euro). The museum is located next to the Duomo and from this architecturally interesting building you have some spectacular views of the Duomo, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and the piazza in front of the Duomo. On a sunny day it would have to be amazing.

The museum itself features predominantly paintings and sculptures from the early 20th century and has some absolutely wonderful works on display. I was impressed by the works of Umberto Boccioni, who I had never heard of before. The main theorist of the Italian Futurist movement, his works are vibrant and dynamic and he did some interesting sculptures as well. But again, hardly any works by women, whereas I would have expected a bit more on display for the time period the museum reflects.

After finishing up at the museum I walked over to the Castello for a visit to Decathlon (a large shop that sells every imaginable piece of sporting equipment – even snow shoes!). Suitably geared up at bargain prices for doing a bit of yoga at home I called it a day and headed home back into the warmth. May spring arrive soon!




2 thoughts on “Where are all the women artists?

  1. Kate B

    Hey, how was your yoga class on Saturday morning?
    One can only hope that history will see a change in our regard for artists but I fear an audit of contemporary art galleries would not tell a significantly different story. 😏
    Sounds like a lovely weekend though (and did you buy a coat??)

    1. Well, erm, didn’t make it to yoga in the end. Something to do with putting washing in machine and not turning it on… Retry tomorrow! And negative re coat. Only another month to go of winter weather, so my current one will do me just fine for now!

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