Author: Jane Fortune

Author and philanthropist, Dr. Jane Fortune is founder and chair of the Advancing Women Artists Foundation and creator of the Jane Fortune Research Program on Women Artists in the Age of the Medici at the Medici Archive Project. Her books include When the World Answered: Florence, Women Artists and the 1966 Flood; To Florence, Con Amore: 90 Ways to Love the City; Art by Women in Florence and Invisible Women: Forgotten Artists of Florence. She is known as “Indiana Jane” because of her efforts to identify and restore art by women artists in Florentine museums and deposits.
July 16, 2017

Mrs. Della Ragione

Seventy-eight years ago this month, sculptor Antonietta Raphaël Mafai fled Rome. The 1930s had been a harsh decade for her as the anti-Semitic media pushed for the creation of a “Pure Race”. She had seen her name printed in a list of “artists to ban”, because “degenerated” Jewish art had to be abolished and its […]
June 12, 2017

The ladies of Villa Cerreto Guidi

Villa Cerreto Guidi, near Fucecchio, was designed by Bernando Buontalenti and constructed in 1556 by order of Cosimo I. It became home to Isabella de’ Medici, the grand duke’s favorite daughter, an early feminist who met her tragic end in the villa’s nuptial bedroom, murdered by her husband Paolo Orsini. It is said that her […]
May 4, 2017

Woman Power and Medici men

Whilst Florentine Renaissance artist Plautilla Nelli “follows in the footsteps of Savonarola” in her first solo show at the Uffizi, the work of contemporary Austrian painter Maria Lassnig (1914–2014) has been installed at Palazzo Pitti and her exhibition “Woman Power” is well underway. These simultaneous exhibitions will continue until June and are part of Uffizi […]
March 1, 2017

Nelli’s Last Supper inspires questions

While contemplating Plautilla Nelli’s Last Supper in Rossella Lari’s Florentine restoration studio, I am overcome with a sense of wonder. There is no other way to feel when standing before this immense oil-on-canvas masterpiece, created in the 1570s by Florence’s first female painter.   Nelli’s Last Supper is seven meters long and nearly two meters […]
February 3, 2017

Tiny transgressions in art by women

Early women artists are often depicted as rebellious souls who “wreak havoc” by overturning social expectations. In Florence, Artemisia Gentileschi shocked her fellows at Casa Buonarroti by painting her tribute to Michelangelo on the gallery ceiling while five months pregnant. In France, not too long ago, Rosa Bonheur was arrested for painting in public—in trousers. […]
January 13, 2017

10 years of the Advancing Women Artists Foundation

The Advancing Women Artists Foundation recently celebrated its tenth anniversary. Jane Fortune takes us on a walk down “Memory Lane”.
December 2, 2016

5 life lessons from Florence’s first woman artist

This year marks the tenth anniversary of my quest to re-discover and restore art by women in Florence. The announcement of a special exhibition for Suor Plautilla Nelli at the Uffizi this March has left me reflecting on the “top five” things Florence’s first woman artist has taught me.     Research means “to search […]
November 3, 2016

Ladies from afar for Florence

On November 4, 2016, Florence’s Twentieth-Century Museum will inaugurate an exhibition featuring works by multiple artists who gifted art to Florence after the 1966 flood to show their support for the damaged city. These works were given on the promise that they would become part of International Contemporary Art Museum, which was inaugurated 48 years […]
October 5, 2016

The harmony of glass

When I first met glass designer Ita Barbini several years ago at her Venetian studio, I was fascinated to learn more about the mysterious art of glass making. A 30-year career teaching the art of glass at Venice’s Istituto d’Arte, days on end at the furnace following each step of the production process and a […]
September 7, 2016

New views of Violante

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the flood that devastated Florence on November 4, 1966. Much has been written about the 14,000-plus artworks affected by the disaster, but restorers are still determining just how far-reaching the damage really was. In fact, flooded works are still being discovered. The flood’s “most recent victim” was discovered […]