Art Appreciation: Great Women Artists

Ref: C3739816

Why have there been so few great women artists from the past? Of course there have been many but their contribution is often lost to history. This course will attempt to reassess the contribution women have made to the history of art through an investigation of some the well known artists such as Artemisia Gentileschi and Georgia O'Keefe along with an exploration of some of those lesser known women whose art has been somewhat forgotten.

Course aim

This course aims to provide a survey of the contribution made by women in the fine arts from the medieval period to the present day with a view to re-assessing that contribution and enhancing the enjoyment of art by women.

Who is the course for?

What topics will this course cover

The course will review women painters,sculptors and architects from the medieval period to the present, concentrating on those who are already important names but also on those who are less well known. We will explore how women were trained in art over time and how they managed to have professional lives. The important artists include Artemisia Gentileschi, Elizabeth Vigee LeBrun, Mary Cassatt, Georgia O'Keefe and Barbara Hepworth. We will also explore the group of women sculptors working in Italy in the 19th century and some of the artists of the 20th whose work has been somewhat overshadowed by that of men. We will investigate women's work up until the present day, looking in particular at the architecture of the late Zaha Hadid.

What will it be like?

WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor. You will be asked to share your ideas and views in the class and work with the group to give and accept feedback in a supportive environment. The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you to be actively involved in your learning. You may be asked to undertake work to support your course outside of your class.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

Identify at least one work by Artemisia Gentileschi. Identify and describe at least one work by Georgia O'Keefe. Begin to discuss the professional status of women artists through time.

How will I know I'm making progress?

Feedback on learning progress with take the form of individual meetings with the tutor and in class discussion.

What else do I need to know, do or bring?

No extra resources or knowledge necessary.

Reading and information sources

No reading essential but students might wish to look at Women, Art and Society by Whitney Chadwick, Thames and Hudson World of Art.

What could the course lead to?

Further WEA study, visits to exhibitions and galleries and further reading.

Download full course outline

Art Appreciation: Great Women Artists Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2016
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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