Renaissance Feminism

Sofonisba Anguissola - Portrait of the Artist's Sisters Playing Chess

These video lectures on Renaissance Feminism are part of a series by Jill Burke, Professor of Renaissance Visual and Material Cultures at Edinburgh College of Art.  All three videos are licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Video 1 introduces major scholars and major female painters, sculptors and architects who worked between 1520 and 1650.


Video 2 considers the relationship between gender and sex, considers Judith Butler’s ideas about ‘performing’ gender, and then focuses on how Renaissance Feminism can be characterised partly by the drive to educate women. It then goes on to consider Sofonisba Anguissola’s innovative painting and her European fame.



Video 3 explores how understanding art differently can allow us to delve into the creative lives of women in the past. Needlework was an area that was increasingly associated with women from the early sixteenth century, and understood as a creative art by some commentators. Equally women were thought to have a special understanding of nature, and excelled in still lives and flower painting. We take Giovanna Garzoni’s work as a case study. How can feminist approaches to art history challenge traditional Vasarian narratives?



You can read more about Professor Burke’s work on her blog here: Jill Burke’s Blog.

Header image: Sofonisba Anguissola – Portrait of the Artist’s Sisters Playing Chess, public domain image on Wikimedia Commons.