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Death depicted by female artists

Updated on January 24, 2012
Fede Galizia "Judith with the head of Holoferness" 1596
Fede Galizia "Judith with the head of Holoferness" 1596 | Source

Death has been depicted by countless artists through out the history of art. Here are some of my favorites renditions of death created by artists who are women. Keep in mind that women were not generally accepted into art schools until well into the 1900's. Yet these women produced beautifully thought provoking works of subversive subject matter.

Fede Galizia was trained by her father Nunzio Galizia, who was a painter of miniatures. Fede was quite accomplished at a very young age and began taking on commissions.

ArtemisiaGentileschi "Judith Beheading Holofernes" Oil 1612-13
ArtemisiaGentileschi "Judith Beheading Holofernes" Oil 1612-13 | Source

Artemisia Gentileschi also trained in her father's studio as did her brothers. Her father was the Tuscan painter Orazio Gentileschi.

Maria van Oosterwijk "Vanitas Still Life"  Oil 17th Century
Maria van Oosterwijk "Vanitas Still Life" Oil 17th Century | Source

Maria van Oosterwijk studied under Jan Davidsz Heem. She is one of three significant women artists in Dutch Golden Age era. The others were Rachel Ruysch and Judith Leyster.

Edmonia Lewis "Death of Cleopatra" Marble 1875
Edmonia Lewis "Death of Cleopatra" Marble 1875 | Source

Mary Edmonia Lewis began her art studies at Oberlin College, one of the first higher learning institutions in the United States to admit people of differing ethnicities including women. Lewis would later study under the well-known sculptor, Edward Augustus Brackett.

Kathe Kollwitz "Death and Woman" Etching 1910
Kathe Kollwitz "Death and Woman" Etching 1910 | Source

Kathe Kollwitz began her art studies in Berlin with Karl Stauffer-Bern, a friend and collegue of the artist Max Klinger. She also took up studies at the Women's Art School in Munich. She would later become a professor of art.

Frida Kahlo " A Few Small Nips" Oil on Metal 1935
Frida Kahlo " A Few Small Nips" Oil on Metal 1935 | Source

Frida Kahlo was a self taught artist. The tragedies of her young life often left her confined to her bed where she occupied her time by painting.

Audrey Flack "Sophia" Bronze
Audrey Flack "Sophia" Bronze | Source

Audrey Flack is an artist from New York who has studied at the Institute of Fine Arts NYU, Yale University, and achieved her Doctorate from Cooper Union. She has been a working artist since the mid 1950's. Audrey Flack is an American photorealist, painter, printmaker, and sculptor.


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