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Great Mistresses: Medieval and Renaissance Artists


FIRST CLASS: Monday 10 January 2022, 11am-12.30pm


Our short course, Great Mistresses: Medieval and Renaissance Artists, focuses on a range of artists whose contribution to art history is only now being fully uncovered because they were women. New research has been invaluable, particularly over the last 20 years, in discovering more about the art practice of women and the reattribution of their work, which for too long has been attributed to male artists or hidden in private collections or the depots of museums.

The course is taught by the art historian Clare Ford Wille, who has taught within the department for many years. Teaching will be face-to-face in the classroom, unless circumstances dictate otherwise. It will be supported by access to our online learning environment. On this course you will develop your understanding of the careers of a range of medieval and renaissance artists. This will enable you to explore changes in art and art practice over time and also to understand how art histories are subsequently constructed to make sense of these changes. In particular, you will consider how this process erased the contribution of women, despite the fame many achieved in their own day.

The Great Mistresses: Medieval and Renaissance Artists short course gives you an overview of European medieval and renaissance art, with a focus on the work of particular artists and how they met the needs of their audiences and patrons, whilst negotiating the many barriers that stood in their way.

The course covers a range of interesting topics including:

  • art practice within convents and the illumination of manuscripts
  • the expansion of women’s practice into painting and sculpture
  • Sofonisba Anguissola and Catharina van Hemessen and portraiture
  • Artemisia Gentileschi and other great mistresses of the Renaissance
  • reflection on the social, economic and political factors that restricted women’s art practice and erased their contributions.

You can email us directly with questions about this course or any of our other art history courses.

This course is non-credit bearing, so carries no credit points.

  • Entry requirements

    Entry requirements

    Most of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students.

    This course is suitable for anyone with an interest in art history. No prior study of art history is expected, though you should be able to read and discuss your ideas in English.

    As part of the enrolment process, you may be required to submit a copy of a suitable form of ID.

    International students who wish to come to the UK to study a short course can apply for a Visitor visa. Please note that it is not possible to obtain a Student visa to study a short course.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You register directly onto the classes you would like to take. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis - so apply early. If you wish to take more than one short course, you can select each one separately and then register onto them together via our online application portal. There is usually no formal selection process, although some modules may have prerequisites and/or other requirements, which will be specified where relevant.