Talks & Events

Alternative stories: women, allegory and painting

17 Apr 2024 6.30-7.45pm

Royal Academy Of Arts
London W1J 0BD


Join our panel of artists and art historians for a conversation on myths, allegories, and the representation of women in painting.

Throughout art history, women have appeared in paintings as allegorical characters, often as tropes from religious or mythological sources from Eve to Medusa.

But alternative histories were also presented. Artists such as Angelica Kauffman foregrounded women as powerful characters, drawing on contemporary female creatives such as Emma Hart (Lady Hamilton) as inspiration for female 'types' in her history paintings. Now, contemporary artists are using mythology to reframe many of the traditional narratives associated with women.

In this discussion, our expert panel will discuss female characters in painting, and how artists working from Kauffman’s time to the present, have sought to subvert allegorical tropes.

Our first speaker to be announced is Marina Warner.

Marina Warner writes fiction, criticism and cultural history. Her award-winning books explore myths, symbols and fairy tales, including Monuments and Maidens (1985) and From the Beast to the Blonde (1994). Forms of Enchantment (2018), her anthology of essays on artists, is out now in paperback. She is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, a Distinguished Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and an Honorary Fellow of the RA.

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