How to read a feminist work of art in two minutes

The Bride, Eva-Maria by Niki de Saint Phalle, 1963 — picture found here

This sculpture/assemblage is part of Niki de Saint Phalle’s Brides series. She began to explore the idea of femininity, the role of women in private life, in society, how women were represented at the beginning of the 1960s. The work on brides begins in 1963, the year she divorced. She started to represent, to create characters both pitiful and gloomy, quite pathetic, to tell her story, a story where women, once married, are no longer women.

The Brides were also part of her series of works that denounced the different statuses of women in life: wife, mother, nurse, prostitute, witch…

How to read a painting in two minutes

The Game of Chess or Portrait of The Artist’s Sisters Playing Chess, Sofonisba Anguissola, 1555

Sofonisba Anguissola was an Italian painter, born in Cremona in the Duchy of Milan, Italy, around 1532–1535 (the exact date is not known). She is considered one of the first female artists in history, one of the first portrait painters recognized in Europe.

This painting is probably the most recognizable of Sofonisba Anguissola’s work. We have a genre scene, a glimpse into the intimacy of a noble household, into the intimacy of women and girls in 16th century Italy. …

An independent woman and a free artist

Self-portrait, Romaine Brooks, 1922–1923

I love painting. And the more colorful it is, the more I like it. That’s why fauvism is my favorite artistic movement ever. Ever. The explosion of colors, simplification of forms, bright, powerful, vibrant colors. All I love. All that makes me feel incredible things. And then, I discovered Romaine Brooks, an artist whose work is mainly dominated by shades of greys, blues, and blacks. And I loved it. And I wanted to tell you about her.

Romaine Brooks was an American painter, born in Rome, Italy, in 1874 but she spent most of her life in Paris. She is…

A politically committed woman and a convinced communist

We all know Frida Kahlo. We recognize her self-portraits, her naive style, and her beautiful traditional Mexican dresses. We know the artist, we know the woman who suffered a lot in her life, but do we know the political activist?

I was working on a new videoconference. A very hard one because it was about Frida Kahlo. Why was it so hard to work on her? Because she is so famous, so iconic, there is so much documentation about her that I didn’t know what angle to take for this conference. What to say? Where to start? Everyone has an…

No Kandinsky, we won’t talk about you

Hilma Af Klint’s self-portrait — Wiki Commons

I wanted to talk to you about an artistic trend that still doesn’t speak to me too much, embodied by an incredible artist that I don’t really understand. Today we are going to focus on Hilma af Klint. You must wonder what I mean when I say that I don’t understand this woman. You will see it in this article, we will talk about art, certainly, but also about spiritualism and spirits. And this is where my ability to understand is in great difficulty. I am a very pragmatic person. I don’t believe in any superior force, divine or spiritual…

Let’s talk about the beginnings of Photoshop

The Coronation of Napoleon I by Jacques-Louis David — from Wiki Commons

You know that now, I’m a French tour guide, and I love my job. Before Covid, I spent more time walking the streets and museums of Paris than I did at home. And I pretty liked it.

I considered the Louvre as my second home, and the works of art almost like members of my family, as I saw them more than my friends and family put together. I went there with tourists and travelers, to show them around. But I also spent a lot of time there, on my own, working. …

Spoiler alert: the answer is no

Amedeo Modigliani in 1918 — Wiki Commons

It is easy to speak of Amedeo Modigliani and his setbacks, of what has built the myth Modigliani: alcohol, drugs, his charm, and his waves of anger to cause fires. But Amedeo was above all an erudite artist of great talent.

After studying art in Italy and discovering the Parisian art world, Modigliani drew, painted, and later even devoted himself to sculpture. He was a complete artist, resolutely modern that it is impossible to put in a box. His work consisted mainly of portraits, a magnificent and rich collection of portraits. He really revolutionized the portrait, its composition, and its…

And it’s not because I don’t miss him

Photo by peter bucks on Unsplash

Almost nine years ago, when I was barely 18 years old, I lost my dad. Bone cancer took him from me, my little sister, and my grandmother in just over a year.

It was the most violent thing I have ever faced in my short life. It was not just a loss, but a world that was falling apart. Of course, I am not the first, nor unfortunately the last person to lose a loved one. But losing your father at 18 and having a mother who “didn’t care” was not easy to deal with as you might imagine.


How the revolution of 1848 finally gave women a voice

Les Divorceuses — “Toast to the emancipation of women, by women already furiously emancipated”

You know it if you’ve been reading me, I’m a feminist. I am also a tour guide, and I love the History and History of art. A few months ago, I started to work on antifeminism in France, and how it materializes in the French political apparatus since the French revolution of 1789. You can read the first part here, and today we’ll talk about another revolution (yes, we, the French people, fought A LOT)

The year 1848 marks the peak of women’s public expression, through different newspapers led by women and for women, as with Eugénie Niboyet’s La Voix…

And it has nothing to do with what you think

Portrait présumé de Gabrielle d’Estrées et de sa sœur la duchesse de Villars — © 2007 Musée du Louvre / Angèle Dequier

Presumed portrait of Gabrielle d’Estrées and her sister the Duchess of Villars, Fontainebleau school, circa 1594, Louvre museum.

This painting is one of the most famous French artworks, and yet a great mystery still hovers over its head: we know neither its author, nor its commissioner, nor even the circumstances of its realization. Although its artist remains anonymous, this painting is characteristic of the Fontainebleau school.

What is the Fontainebleau School?

Johanna Da Costa

a French tour guide, a feminist, a cheese lover. I write about art, books, feminism, and others

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