Wendy DesChene | The Things Women Need To Do
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The Things Women Need To Do

If there’s one thing to blame the patriarchy for it is all the things we missed out on by denying half the population access to pigment and stone. Sarah Dodson had to wait until her father died before she could start her training as a painter. Think of that for a second in our post, postmodern America. If anything most fathers would consider art a perfect milieu for their daughters. Now they might, equally wrongly, pour scorn on the idea of her being a mathematician or an engineer.

Consider the courage of Marie Guillemine Benoist (1768–1826) who not only painted in the eighteenth century but had the chutzpah to paint Black women and women of color. Not at work but poses of beauty. The sort of pictures where were the painter a man and the sitter this beautiful, we would call her a muse. This was a huge statement for Benoist to make in all sorts of way.

She was by no means the first though. Maria van Oosterwijck (1630–1693) was painting in the fifteenth century and was very successful. Her painting tended to be still life and mostly flowers and flower arrangements, usually against a dark background. Very Dutch and very of her period.

There have been female painters always. There have been women everything throughout history, it just happens that often we do not get their history and their fame was limited to their friends and family. The word is a travesty.

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