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CMEMS: Reinventing Women’s Creativity in Early Modern Bologna, with Babette Bohn



Babette Bohn (Texas Christian University)


Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 4:30pm - 5:45pm


Pigott Hall, Rm 252 / Zoom



CMEMS: Reinventing Women’s Creativity in Early Modern Bologna, with Babette Bohn

Babette Bohn (Texas Christian University) will give the second talk in our virtual Stanford CMEMS Workshop Series (Autumn): “Reinventing Women’s Creativity in Early Modern Bologna.”
Professor Bohn will join us at 4:30-5:45pm (PDT) via Zoom. For the Zoom link, email For in-person attendance, Stanford members may join us in 260-252 (the German Studies Library). Please bring your Stanford Health Check and wear a face mask while in the building. Due to current regulations, we sadly cannot serve our usual lunch at the workshop.
What made one Italian city uniquely receptive to women artists during the early modern period? Babette Bohn’s presentation, drawn from her recent book, explores some key factors in making Bologna a center for successful women artists in the early modern period, with at least 68 recorded practitioners. Analyzing a distinctive approach to female artistic biographies, Bohn argues that early Bolognese writers, unlike their contemporaries elsewhere, focused on the works rather than the personal lives of local women artists, characterizing their female compatriots as a distinctive feature of Bolognese cultural superiority. Moreover, the celebration of women’s drawings in Bologna linked their artistic production to notions of invention and originality that were generally reserved for male artists elsewhere. These and other factors contributed to a larger, more diversified, and more successful group of women artists than any other Italian city in the early modern period.
Babette Bohn, professor of art history at Texas Christian University, is a specialist on Bolognese art. Bohn received her BA from Northwestern University, MA from Boston University, and PhD from Columbia University and is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the NEH, CASVA, and Villa I Tatti, among others. Her book, Women Artists, Their Patrons, and Their Publics in Early Modern Bologna, was published earlier this year by Pennsylvania State University Press. Eight other books include two studies of Bolognese drawings: Le “Stanze” di Guido Reni: Disegni del maestro e della scuola (2008), an exhibition catalogue for the Uffizi Gallery, and Ludovico Carracci and the Art of Drawing (2004). Bohn has contributed to several exhibitions on women artists, including a monographic exhibition on Elisabetta Sirani (2004) and most recently an exhibition on Italian women artists currently at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut. Her current research investigates women’s artistic education, their production of drawings, and the role of gender in shaping attitudes toward women artists after their deaths in early modern Italy.
For more information, please visit the CMEMS website: