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Female Artists - Artemisia Gentileschi, Rachel Ruysch, Edna Boies Hopkins

Throughout March, as well as throughout each year, we celebrate Women in the Art and Design world. 

Women's History Month has been celebrated officially since the 1980's, yet these female creators helped shape a world we know today.

Artemisia Gentileschi

Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1654) was the 17th century’s most celebrated female artist, having worked in Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples and London – highly well travelled for the time.

As an Italian woman, she possesed courage and a talent for technical skills seen throughout her Baroque style paintings, with dramatic representations, contrasting light and darkness.

In the National Gallery's 'Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria', Artemisia portrayed herself as the resilient saint, having endured horrendous encounters in her teenage years. A woman before her time, she took action and paved a way for women in art and socity for centuries to come.


Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria

Artemisia Gentileschi, about 1615-17

National Gallery


Rachel Ruysch

Rachel Ruysch (June 1665 – October 1750) was from the Netherlands, where they are known for their fllowers, and her father was a botanist, so let's just say flowers were in her DNA! She began honing her skills by painting the flowers and insects in her father's collection. Over the years her skills advanced as she apprenticed a prominent flower painter as well as began to experiment with her vase painting techniques. By the age of 18, Ruysch was painting and selling her works independently. She also associated with other painters of her age who all practiced and worked for plant collectors. Her constant exposure to plants and flowers allowed her to become so accurate with her depictions. Her paintings are easily recognized by her dark

Ruysch then married portrait painter Juriaen Pool, who she had 10 children with! She continued to paint and bring income in for their family. However, it is thought that other women at this time were expected to participate in art forms more traditionally practiced by women, such as sewing and spinning.

Ruysch had a long and successful career that spanned over six decades, she became the best documented woman painter of the Dutch Golden Age.


Flowers in a Vase

Rachel Ruysch, about 1685

National Gallery


Edna Boies Hopkins 

Edna Boies Hopkins(1872-1937)- Michigan born, American artist, Edna Boies Hopkins, began her journey as an artist after the passing of her husband in 1894. As a widow, she enrolled at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. Later marrying James Roy Hopkins, Edna found herself in New York at Pratt Institute. Pratt, a renowned NYC art institute, is where she honed her skills and was introduced to ukiyo-e, Japanese woodblock printing. Her wood block paintings feature primarily nature and are known for beautiful florals. Several of her works can be seen at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

If you are ever in the Boston area, please stop by our museum partner and take a look at the gorgeous Trumpet Flower (1915).


Trumpet Flower

Edna Boies Hopkins, about 1915

MFA, Boston

quilt, Women’s History Month, Women’s History Day, art, female artist, Artemisia Gentileschi, Rachel Ruysch, National Gallery, Edna Boies Hopkins, MFABoston
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