Yeah, no, you want to go? LET’S GO.
Bourgot Le Noir • Nun Claricia • Diemoth (also called Diemud/Diemudis) • Agnes II Abbess of Quedlinburg • Anastasia • Claricia • Herrad of Landsberg • Ende • Guda • Abbess Hitda of Meschede • Hildegard of Bingen • Helena of Egypt, daughter of Timon of Egypt • Aristarete • Timarete • Alcisthene • Eirene • Anaxandra • Lala de Cizique • Iaia of Cyzicus • Frögärd Ulvsdotter i Ösby • Maria Ormani • Catherine of Bologna • the daughter of Butades (Kora/Callirhoe) • Lala • Sabrina von Steinbach • Kallo • Cirene, daughter of Kratinos • Calypso • Olympias • Amalasuntha • Laodicia • Herlindis of Maaseik • Relindis of Maaseik • Gisela of Kerzenbroeck • Zaynab al-Maqdisiyya • Fatimah Bint al’Aqra’ • unidentified prehistoric female artists, “Spotted Horses” mural • Onorata Rodiani • Mechthild of Hackeborn
Also consider that there are a huge number of names missing - women did not always sign or receive credit for their work; earlier art may be pre- written language, may have been lost or destroyed, or may no longer be attributed by name. Drawings of artists in ancient Greece in vase-making workshops, for instance, show both men and women painting designs.
The nature of white male academia and museum culture has also affected what we preserve and label, and even what we consider ‘valuable’ art, prioritizing the public (large murals and paintings) that Western women were socially not accepted to create over the private such as embroideries that were devalued and demoted to being ‘craft’ because of their associations with women. Apologies for the primarily white and Western focus in this list, as biases in art historical documentation make it very difficult to properly identify by name pre-1500s female artists of color.
Here, have some essays:
This is a bit out of my field, since I’m way more into the 19th and 20th century scene, but this is still great information to have. And the part of me that’s anachronistically really into Byzantine art is kinda flipping out right now.
Like holy crap, look up Hildegard of Bingen’s illuminations.
But yeah, anyway, moral of the story is: if sexists try to erase women from history, slap their shit then give them some sources then slap their shit some more.
Oh, and there’s a really good point in one of the linked articles about women’s arts being demoted to “craft,” which I kind of get the impression happened roughly around the time that major economic and industrial-technological shifts in Europe spurred a division between Work (male) and The Home (female) and undermined the cottage industries that women’s work often connected with. Interestingly, craft-as-art briefly went back into vogue in the late 19th century because a bunch of men decided that industrial capitalism was destroying society… I need to do more research on that movement from this particular angle, but I think there’s potential here for a rather interesting feminist reading of that moment in art history.
Oh, that idea for a feminist reading of the late 19th century “Craftsman” moment is a good one!