Works by women artists to see in Florence

Explore the artworks investigated and restored by AWA – Advancing Women Artists.

Artemisia Gentileschi (Rome 1593 - Naples 1652/53)
The Italian painter was inspired by the Caravaggesque school and lived in Florence for a short time. She was the first female painter to be admitted to the prestigious Academy of Art and Design in Florence, impressively obtaining recognition as an artist by the Medici Court in a testament to her remarkable talent in a truly astonishing achievement for a woman in an almost entirely male art world at the time. 

Gentileschi studied in her father’s workshop together with her six male brothers. Her father, Orazio, was a friend of Caravaggio, a fact which made a great impact on her stylistic training. She was tragically the victim of abduction and rape by her mentor, the painter Agostino Tassi, which potentially influenced the subject matter she chose for some of her works. 

Works in Florence: “Judith beheading Holofernes”, at the Uffizi Gallery. "Santa Maria Maddalena”, Palatine Gallery, Pitti Palace.

Giuditta che decapita Oloferne - Uffizi

Plautilla Nelli (Florence, 1524 - Florence, 1588)

Nelli entered the former convent of Santa Caterina da Siena in Piazza San Marco in Florence at the tender age of 14. She was a nun and painter during the time of the Renaissance, incredibly the first to be recognized as such. She held the prestigious role of Prioress of the convent three times, establishing relationships with the most influential families and taking advantage of her position to set up a very active art workshop. To date, there are 17 paintings attributed to Nelli.

Works in Florence: “Lamentation over the Dead Christ”, at the San Marco Museum. "Saint Dominic receives the Rosary" and "Saint Catherine in Prayer" at the Museo del Cenacolo di Andrea del Sarto. "The Last Supper" in the refectory of the Santa Maria Novella museum.

Compianto con santi - Museo di San Marco

Violante Beatrice Siriès (Florence, 1709 - Florence, 1783)

The Florence-born daughter of the French goldsmith and director of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Louis Siriès, Violante held the role of portraitist for Tuscan nobility in the 18th century. Following the death of the Florentine artist Giovanna Fratellini in 1732, she took her place as the official portraitist for the Medici Court.

Works in Florence: Three self-portraits by Siriès Cerroti Violante at the Uffizi Gallery. Depiction of Santa Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi in the sacristy of the Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi Church. "San Francesco d’Assisi" in the Capuchin Museum in Florence.

La Madonna presenta Gesù Bambino - Santa Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi

Elisabeth Chaplin (Fontainebleau, 1890 - Florence, 1982)

Coming from a family of artists and painters, an incredible wealth of paintings by Chaplin can be found in Florence. Having arrived in Tuscany as a child, she began to teach herself by admiring the classical works at the Uffizi Gallery, leading along her lifelong path in painting. Her art took her to Francesco Gioli's atelier where she met the artist Giovanni Fattori, following which she spent periods in Rome and Paris before settling permanently in Fiesole after the end of World War II.  

Works in Florence: "Rest in Egypt (Oasi)", "The three sisters", Modern Art Gallery, Palazzo Pitti.

Riposo in Egitto (Oasi) - Uffizi

AWA - Advancing Women Artists

From their inauguration in 2007 through to their closure in 2021, the American non-profit organization Advancing Women Artists was committed to identifying, restoring and displaying artworks by women to the public. Their great number of restorations are detailed on their website, with a rich digital archive providing plenty of information for all those interested in delving deeper into the world of female Florentine artists. 

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