A four-part lecture series by author and art historian Cornelia Feye explores the art of female artists through six centuries, from the Renaissance to the 21st century. The represented artists were not chosen simply because they were women, but because they were accomplished painters, who happened to be women. Female artists have created art for centuries, from ancient Greek sculptures, paintings, and poems to medieval illuminated manuscripts. Unfortunately, most of their names were not recorded.
The first lecture begins in the Renaissance. With the new emphasis on the individual in the Renaissance, better records were kept about the art produced in Italy and Northern Europe by female artists. The 16th century is the first period when not only names but also biographies and significant quantities of work by female artists exist. Women artists worked in a wide range of styles from intimate portraits to large-scale altarpieces.