To make the search a little easier, Dr. Babette Bohn, a women and gender studies professor, will host a public lecture on Thursday to discuss the only known school of female artists in Bologna during the 16th and 17th centuries. Bohn will discuss key female writers, musicians and mystics throughout history.
Bohn, who won the Women and Gender Studies Faculty Research Award in 2015-2016, said focusing on women in Bologna is a passion she “just fell into.” She spent 15 years writing articles about the history of Bologna women and visited the city many times.
“I discovered this large group of women writers in the 16th and 17th centuries,” Bohn said. “These women were musicians, some were even composers — there was a very unusual amount of women who were given the ability to practice painting and writing music.”
Bohn said the lack of women throughout art history has been attributed to the lack of documentation of them performing music and painting. She said male composers in Bologna “were proud of the women in their city” for painting and writing music.
“Thanks to the males in the city, we are able to see what truly happened there,” Bohn said.
Bohn’s lecture is called “Designing Women; Inventive Men: Truths and Myths on the Woman Artist in Early Modern Italy.” It will be held at 7 p.m. on Feb. 11 in Moudy North 141.