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23 October 2020

The catalogue is on its way from the Prado and, without doubt, we shall be returning to this exhibition. For now, here is the last 'episode' of the week (next week we shall be putting up five images from the Persephone Biannually, which goes out on Monday). This is episode 9 'Shipwrecked Women' and here is what the (highly intelligent and subtle curator has to say):'The term náufragas (shipwrecked women) appears in the titles of two literary texts published in 1831 and 1909 respectively. The first is Las españolas náufragas (The Shipwrecked Spanish Women) by Segunda Martínez de Robles, and the second is a short story by Emilia Pardo Bazán that appeared in the magazine Blanco y Negro. Both texts centre on the marginalisation suffered by many women in the patriarchal culture of the nineteenth century. A lack of specialised training often prevented them from entering a profession and earning a living for themselves, or forced them into modest if not demeaning jobs. Some rebelled against these imposed constraints. In the particular field of art, wives and daughters of painters were on occasions given specific training, but the duties they performed in the ateliers were generally the subordinate tasks of an assistant, and their presence in spaces of male creativity was therefore habitual but invisible. Nor was there any public recognition of the silent work done by many other women in domestic surroundings, a production regarded by elitist art history as belonging to the minor field of handicrafts. The names of the women who made those pieces were thus lost as in a shipwreck.' To explore the exhibition further go to the Prado site here. This is F

lower Stall by María Luisa de la Riva y Callol de Muñoz 1885.

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