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THURSDAY, MAY 16, 2024 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano 2 W hy do so few people know t h e n a m e s and works of A r t e m i s i a Gentileschi or Rosalba Carriera? Art history has poorly and inad- equately documented the work of these two talented artists, w h o n o n e t h e l e s s p l a y e d a n important role in Italian culture and society. As it negl ected them, it often reduced other women to mere muses or mod- els, denying them recognition in painting or sculpture and over- looking their skills, creativity, expressive space, and access to workshops or academies. In the age-old struggle against gender disparity and discrimination, art (as a collective heritage) has lost a great deal. Rosalba Carriera, who lived between 1673 and 1757, was the most famous Italian artist in eighteenth-century Europe. From English lords to Austrian princes, the nobility of the old conti- The lesson (not only artistic) from talented artists like Gentileschi and Carriera From the Editor nent lined up outside her studio, eager to have a pastel portrait or a fine miniature on ivory. Just being able to pose for her, and later boast about that era's "photograph," was a status symbol, a mark of social, financial, and elitist recognition. This says a lot about the value that art once held in society, a value it has lost today. For nearly half a century, the courts of Europe sought her services. Despite frequent invitations and generous proposals, except for three stays at the courts of the King of France, the Duke of Modena, and the Emperor in Vienna, Carriera pre- ferred to remain in Venice, where she worked tirelessly all her life, not only as a pioneering artist but also as a true entrepre- neur. Before her, the Roman Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1656) is today more known for the violence she suffered and the courage with which she faced the subsequent trial rather than for the refinement of her creative work. Her innate talent for the fine arts emerged early and was refined first by the innovations of her contemporary Caravaggio, from whom she learned to use real models and the ability to transfigure them to express pow- erful yet realistic drama, and later by the teachings of the great masters who worked in Venice, like Tintoretto and Veronese. In addition to creating the finest portraits of Venetian and European high society in the eighteenth century, capturing the ideals of grace and elegance of an entire era, Rosalba Carriera also pioneered a new genre: miniature painting on ivory. Through an innovative technique, Carriera brought the loose and vibrant brushstrokes of canvas painting to the tiny surface of ivory discs for the first time: the success was immediate. No traveler during their stay in Venice would miss the opportunity to own one of her ivory miniatures. Artemisia Gentileschi's work "Judith Slaying Holofernes" speaks for her: the painting shows the dramatic talent, vivid col- ors, and powerful emotions that define her art. Moreover, with Gentileschi, the women she portrayed were always the protago- nists, a true innovation for her time. It is also notable that she was the first woman admitted to the prestigious Accademia del Disegno in Florence. The fundamental issue is that the role of women in art has always conflicted with the roles assigned to them by a patriar- chal society. This same impediment still hinders women today from pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Until half a century ago, graduating in fields like physics, medicine, or engineering was a significant social challenge for women. It's astonishing to think that the first woman to graduate (in philosophy) was Elena Lucrezia in 1678, or that it took until 1877 to have the first female doctor, Ernestina Paper, and until 1908 for the first woman to graduate in civil engineering in Italy, Emma Strada. Amalia Ercoli Finzi, the first female aeronautical engineer, who graduated in 1961, became one of the world's leading figures in aerospace science and technology (serving as a scientific advisor to NASA, ASI, and ESA, and as the "Principal Investigator" of a tool on the Rosetta space probe). This underscores how much society has lost by blocking or hindering women's access to education. For a girl, the rank of intellectual or artist was as inappropri- ate yesterday as it is today. Every statistic on the gender gap confirms this. In art, women remain in the background, less cel- ebrated than their male counterparts. Tina Modotti, for instance, is one of the greatest photographers of the 20th centu- ry, with her works housed in the most prestigious institutions and museums worldwide, including the International Museum of Photography and Film at George Eastman House in Rochester and the Library of Congress in the United States. In June 1913, she sailed to San Francisco, before settling in Los Angeles and later Mexico. Through her, photography became a tool for social investigation and activism. Yet, her name shines much less brightly than the more famous Gianni Berengo Gardin or Luigi Ghirri. Simone Schiavinato, Editor Simone Schiavinato NEWS & FEATURES TOP STORIES PEOPLE EVENTS Member of FUSIE (Federazione Unitaria Stampa Italianaall'Estero), COGITO L'Italo-Americano Please send correspondence to P.O. BOX 6528, ALTADENA, CA 91003 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano Newspaper (a 501(c)(3) non- profit organization), www.italoamericano.org, is the largest and longest-running Italian news- paper in America, not to mention the cultural and news resource for all things Italian in the US. A bilingual newspaper which represents an historical landmark for the Italian American Communities in the West Coast and throughout the US. L'Italo-Americano benefits from subsidies by the Italian Government, Memberships and Donations intended to support and not interrupt a mission that began in 1908 to preserve and promote the Italian language and culture in the USA Periodicals postage paid at Monrovia, California 91016, and additional mailing offices. PUBLISHER Robert Barbera Grande Ufficiale EDITOR IN CHIEF Simone Schiavinato ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER Patrick Abbate EDITORIAL COORDINATOR Barbara Minafra COPY EDITOR Francesca Bezzone LOS ANGELES CONTRIBUTOR Silvia Nittoli SAN FRANCISCO CONTRIBUTOR Serena Perfetto SEATTLE CONTRIBUTOR Rita Cipalla CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mariella Radaelli, Matt Walker, Francesca Bezzone, Luca Ferrari, Stefano Carnevali, Paula Reynolds, Teresa Di Fresco Nicoletta Curradi, Generoso D'Agnese, Jessica S. Levy, Fabrizio Del Bimbo, Maria Gloria, Chuck Pecoraro, Anthony Di Renzo Serena Perfetto, Kenneth Scambray, Chiara D'Alessio, Luca Signorini, Giulia Franceschini © 2020 L'Italo-Americano Membership: One year $59 - Single copy $2.25 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to L'Italo Americano PO Box 6528 Altadena, CA 91003 P.O.BOX 6528, ALTADENA, CA 91003 P.O.BOX 6528, ALTADENA, CA 91003

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