Florence Frees Female Renaissance Artists

Created on 23 December 2017
Written by Paola

The Renaissance period, which lasted from the 14th to the 17th century, was considered the bridge between the Middle Ages and Modern Art. Some of the most famous Renaissance paintings include the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci, The School of Athens by Raphael, and The Creation  of Adam by Michael Angelo. All these legendary paintings were made by men, but what about the work of the female artists of that era?

Well, it seems the female artists’ paintings were forgotten and hidden away in attics. Sometimes, men would even forge their signatures on the paintings.

However, Rossella Lari, a painting conservator, has made it her mission to restore some of the canvases painted by the women artists of that period. Lari is currently working on the restoration of Plautilla Nelli’s Last Supper, which is a gigantic 7 by 5 meter painting.

Nelli was a nun who managed an art school for women in Florence. Women supported each other, and Nelli got funds from other convents. During that time, female artists were more valued than men since women were considered more precise and more capable of apprehending psychology. Nelli often earned five times what an average man earned from his painting.

Rossella Lari is planning to show Nelli's masterpiece in 2019 in the Santa Maria Novella Museum in Florence for the first time in 450 years. Lari's work is funded by the Advancing Women Artists (AWA) organization. More artists like Plautilla Nelli also had remarkable paintings. Sadly, in 1966, there was a flood that destroyed most of the paintings in Florence. 

The Renaissance era brought to life many amazing paintings, but today only men are recognized for their work while many women are simply forgotten. Hopefully, with Rosella Lari, more female artists will finally get the recognition and appreciation they deserve.

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