Invisible Women: Forgotten artists of Florence
Invisible works. Remarkable artists. Who were these extraordinary women painters and why are many of their works still hidden from the public eye? Jane Fortune, author, art collector and founder of two associations aimed at the recuperation and rediscovery of art by women in the Florence museums, takes the reader on the trail of women artists whose talent and courage represent a fundamental part of the city’s artistic identity. Which unique challenges spurred their creative journeys and what unique episodes propelled their lives and times? And, most importantly, what can be done today to reclaim this captivating yet unfamiliar part of Florence’s cultural heritage?
There are 1,500 works by women artists are currently stored in Florence’s various deposits, most of which have not been on public view for centuries.
Are all of these works of a high artistic standard? We’ll never know unless they are seen.
Do they require restoration? We’ll never know unless they are examined.
Is it possible to delve into the abyss of the past and rescue them from obscurity ? We’ll never know unless we try.
Known as Indiana Jane for her commitment to salvaging damaged works from the entrails of the city’s storehouses, Fortune’s new book, Invisible Women celebrates the city’s hidden treasures and provokes a passionate quest that will lead readers to the whos, wheres and whys of the city’s forgotten half.
The Emmy award winning documentary
A documentary after this book was produced by WFYI Productions from Indianapolis, and was aired on American public television (Public Broadcasting Service). In June 2013, this tv program won an Emmy award as the Best Documentary in the Cultural/Historical Program category. It was screened at a major event in Florence soon after.
On the cover
The cover of this book features a detail from a painting by Artemisia Gentileschi of David and Betsabea, the restoration of which was funded by Jane Fortune and the Advancing Women Artists Foundation. Hear the restorer speak about the rediscovery of the figure of David who was hidden in the shadows of the work:
Visible. Plautilla Nelli and her Last Supper, restored
In memory of Jane Fortune
In Renaissance Florence, Plautilla Nelli founded a workshop of nun-artists and authored a 21-foot Last Supper she would sign, ‘Pray for the Paintress’. Over four centuries later, international art lovers band together to salvage her forgotten masterpiece.
Now the world’s largest work by an early female artist is on public display in the Museum of Santa Maria Novella. A four-year journey of restoration and research, this quest is a bridge across time and the contemporary answer to Nelli’s appeal, where the past and present meet and make history, in Florence, today.