Museum PR Announcements News and Information

Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) Announces Groundbreaking Exhibition on 15th- to 18th- Century European Women Artists

BALTIMORE, MD – On October 1, 2023, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) will open a groundbreaking exhibition exploring the wide-ranging achievements of women artists and artisans working in Europe between the 15th and 18th centuries. Co-organized with the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Making Her Mark: A History of Women Artists in Europe, 1400-1800 is the most comprehensive exhibition of women makers from this period, dispelling the myths that women artists were rare or less talented than their male counterparts. More than 200 objects include examples by acclaimed practitioners such as Rosalba Carriera, Artemisia Gentileschi, Elisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun, Judith Leyster, Luisa Roldán, and Rachel Ruysch, as well as those by lesser-known professional and amateur artists and often unnamed makers in collectives, workshops, and manufactories. Collectively, these works demonstrate the many ways women played an integral role in the development of art, culture, and commerce across more than 400 years.

While scholarship about historic women artists has seen an increase in recent years, these investigations remain largely focused on an elite group of artists working in large-scale painting and sculpture. Making Her Mark explores the breadth of women’s artistic endeavors with works that range from royal portraits and devotional sculpture to tapestries, printed books, drawings, clothing and lace, metalwork, ceramics, furniture, and other decorative objects—arguing for a reassessment of European art history to incorporate the true depth and variety of their contributions.

Making Her Mark is co-curated by Andaleeb Badiee Banta, Senior Curator and Department Head of Prints, Drawings & Photographs at the BMA, and Alexa Greist, Curator and R. Fraser Elliott Chair, Prints & Drawings at the AGO. It is a special ticketed exhibition with audio guide presented in Baltimore from October 1, 2023, to January 7, 2024, and in Toronto from March 27 to July 1, 2024. The exhibition features several new BMA acquisitions on view for the first time, as well as loans from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, the National Gallery of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and many other significant public and private collections in North America and Europe.

For centuries, women artists in Europe who achieved professional artistic careers were deemed anomalous or exceptional, while those who engaged in creative pursuits in the home were dismissed as amateurs. Making Her Mark aims to correct these commonly held beliefs by examining the different ways in which women contributed to the production of art and their pursuit of professional and commercial successes. Their roles as artists, designers, laborers, and businesswomen are given life through a variety of objects and narratives unfamiliar to today’s audiences. In this way, the exhibition expands our understanding of women’s contributions to the history of Western art beyond the established dominance of painting and sculpture.

More information:

Luisa Roldán. The Education of the Virgin. 1680s. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of the 2019 Collectors Committee with additional funds from Linda Borick and Bill Davidson on behalf of the Louis L. Borick Foundation