Artemisia Gentileschi. Self-portrait as the Allegory of Painting, 1638-39. Royal Collection.

Online study days

From Renaissance to Baroque – The Rise and Struggle of Women in the World of Art

  • Begins: Monday 29 June 2020
    Until: Monday 13 July 2020
  • Lecturer: Leslie Primo

Please note that this event will now be presented online in one-hour sessions over three weeks. It will be delivered via Zoom and you will need to be familiar with this app in order to participate – we do not have the capacity to provide any back-up or advice on the use of Zoom.

We recommend that you log on to Zoom 15 minutes before the start time of the event even if you are familiar with the app since the process can take some time if a lot of participants are logging on at the same time. You will receive an email the day before the lecture with details of how to join the event.


Across the centuries there have been numerous artists that have disappeared from the discipline of art history for a variety of reasons, the most common that of being unfashionable in whichever era we happen to be in. But some have not only disappeared, they have been deliberately excised from the historical record, and their crime? They are artists that just happened to be women. But if we were to explore this rich seam, we would see that these artists not only flourished, but were commercially successful. Some of the most successful across the centuries would be artists such as: Sofonisba Anguissola, Lavinia Fontana, Artemisia Gentileschi, Joan Carlile, Judith Leyster, Mary Beale, Anne Killigrew, Angelica Kauffman, Mary Moser. Yet, despite their success in their times their names have at best become merely footnotes in the annals of art history; disappearing into the mists of time.

This series of lectures will aim to revive the history of just three of these significant artists: Sofonisba Anguissola, Lavinia Fontana, and Artemisia Gentileschi who in their lifetimes achieved the remarkable feat of merely having a career and in the case of Artemisia Gentileschi having to battle against violence just to work in this male dominated world. Spanning the Renaissance to the Baroque, the lives of these artists will be explored in detail looking at their works and the critical reception of said works, the society and context in which they worked and the demand for their works which drove their careers.


Monday 29 June, 11am-12pm
Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614): Family and the Bolognese tradition in Art.

Monday 6 July, 11am-12pm
Sofonisba Anguissola (c.1532-1625): A Renaissance Master in a Man’s World.

Monday 13 July, 11am-12pm
Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-c.1656): A Woman Scorned – Her struggle, Her life, Her Art

A slide list will be emailed to participants before the lectures.


Leslie Primo specialises in early Medieval and Renaissance studies. He is a lecturer and tutor at the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, Imperial College and Reading University. He also gives gallery tours at the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, both Tate galleries and the V&A. Leslie lectures for many art history societies in the UK including The Arts Society, Art in Focus and the Art Fund and regularly teaches courses at the City Lit and Bishopsgate Institute.

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