Four Great Women Artists: Artemisia Gentileschi, Sofonisba Anguissola; Angelica Kauffman; Frida Kahlo

Pamela Halford

15th April 2020



Despite constraints and prejudices, women have overcome adversity and earned recognition as artists over the last four centuries. Some have shocked society in doing so.

SONOFISBA ANGUISSOLA was an Italian woman who defied convention, became a court artist to Philip 2nd of Spain, as well as lady in waiting to his young Queen. Her portraits became famous and were sent to other royal courts,…one is in Buckingham Palace. She married twice and was herself portrayed by van Dyke.

ARTEMESIA GENTILESCHI endured brutal torture in court, during her legal battle against her rapist, a friend of her Father’s. She overcame widespread hostility to become an icon in the fight for female recognition. Her paintings, following in Caravaggio’s footsteps, were predominantly of biblical and classical heroines, and astounded society. She became Court artist to the Medici. Am amazing lady.

ANGELICA KAUFFMAN also suffered a personal scandal which affected her whole life. She brought the Neo-Classical style to England, and became the most acclaimed artist of her time. A Founder Member of the Royal Academy, and a friend of Joshua Reynolds, her work was widely reproduced.

FRIDA KAHLO was born in Mexico, and became a Realist painter, though Andre Breton described her as a Surrealist. She documented her life in a myriad of self-portraits, having suffered severe spinal injuries following a motor accident. She hid her suffering by painting many self-portraits, putting on a brave face each day. She got many commissions for portraits, but also depicted Mexican life.  A very brave lady.

Lecturer’s CV

Pamela Halford studied Art History and Art Historical Research at Bristol, Oxford and the V&A. She was Lecturer and Researcher, Scriptwriter, and Director at the BBC, making programmes for TV. She made films for cinema, and has contributed articles and poetry to the BBC, and other publications.

Her research includes:-

The life and work of Fabergé: The History of St Petersburg, including Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, and the Hermitage: Turner and his Colour Theory: van Dyke and his Sitters: The Pre-Raphaelites and their women: Women Artists through the Centuries: and Sculptors and Sculptures.

She is a well-known lecturer to Universities, Societies, and Festivals, and she runs Study Days. She has served as Chairman and President of the Arts Society in Bristol, and is an accredited lecturer for the Arts Society.