May Meeting – Women Artists in Modern History – Rachel Levitas

This month’s speaker was Rachel Levitas who gave us a brief overview of influential women artists in modern history; their circumstances, their subjects and their impact.

She started with the shocking story of 17th century Italian artist Artemisia Gentileschi, a survivor of sexual violence who persevered against the odds to succeed in a man’s world as a celebrated portrait artist.

Also from the 17th century, celebrated Dutch still life painter Rachel Ruysch who specialised in flower painting, achieving international fame in her lifetime.

Moving onto the 19th century we heard about French impressionist Berthe Morisot who In 1890 wrote in a notebook about her struggles to be taken seriously as an artist: “I don’t think there has ever been a man who treated a woman as an equal and that’s all I would have asked for, for I know I’m worth as much as they.”

The painting above shows Rachel Levitas’s own painting ‘Je Suis Desole’. Rachel lives and works in Catford.