arts & music

Women and Art: Female Inspiration while Exploring Europe

by Myranda — November 1, 2019

Travelling on a whirlwind European adventure, Myranda is surprised to see so much female representation and takes a moment to be inspired by women and art.

Women and art. Pop art peace statue of turquoise woman on pink background.

I’m about a week in to a five-week journey through Europe, and am greatly enjoying exploring the art I’m seeing – particularly how women feature. As I’m currently blogging on my travels on my own blog, I thought instead to share a small selection of photos taken representing women in art seen to date.

Chateau Chenonceau, aka the Ladies Castle.

This is Chateau Chenonceau, also known as the Ladies’ Castle. All its most prominent and famous owners have been women. I learned about Chenonceau in a history class 14 years ago, and had wanted to go ever since. Now I have. One of my favourite anecdotes about this chateau is that, during the French Revolution, the owner, Louise Dupin, was saved when the revolutionaries came marching for her. Her home was the closest “bridge” and she let the area residents through. When they came to take her and burn the castle down, the people said “NON!” They weren’t taking their bridge, and they weren’t taking the nice lady who let them walk through her house either. And so it stands today.

Women and art: A painting of a blonde woman crocheting done in an impressionist style.

This painting hangs in the Musée D’Orsay, and I was drawn to photograph it for two main reasons. One, it captures a woman crocheting, a habitual activity for ladies at the time. Two, this is not just a painting of a woman, the artist is also a woman; painted by Lucie Cousturier around 1908. The title, Femme Faisant du Crochet, translates roughly to “Woman Crocheting”.

Woman and art. A statue of Joan of Arc riding a horse

This statue of Jeanne D’Arc (or Joan of Arc), stands outside Notre Dame de Reims. It’s significant as this church is where the Kings of France (for the most part) were anointed, and Jeanne took back so Charles VII could be crowned there. And yet, though she’d given him back his power, in the end, when he had no more use for her, when her popularity might have threatened his own, he discarded her, refusing to ransom her from the English.

Statue of gold woman of Peace

In the heart of Luxembourg, Peace is depicted as a woman. This golden statue, raising her coronet high as though to crown an unseen king, is set above a war memorial. Arrangements of fresh flowers lay on the stone pillars’ foot far below, each representing lives lost in a different modern war.

Statue of Goddess of Victory.

If Peace is a woman, so too is Victory. In Rudesheim, the statue of William the Great, the first Emperor of Prussia, lists his notable victories. His own statue, however, is not nearly as large as the Roman Goddess of Victory that towers above, a mighty figure of feminine power.

More about my current travels, as well as previous travels, can be found on my travel blog Starfishdancer.

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