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Course: Civ 2021 Women Artists and Patrons: Finding your focus piece

Fours steps to finding your focus piece

Step one - find a female artist or patron

  • Artcyclopedia has a list of women artists by time period that includes their nationality. 

Except it's not always that simple:

Many of the full entries on countries are NOT the first search result. You want to make sure that you are looking at the entry from Grove Encyclopedia of Art. The entry should be long and include a table of contents on the left-hand side.   

For France, search "France, Republic of"

For Ireland, look at both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

There are articles about women in the arts from Grove Art:

Step two - get some options for your focus piece

Once you’ve noted some names of artists/patrons, you can narrow down to a focus piece. Try starting by: 

  • Search for the names you found in the above process in Grove Art and read for names of prominent works that would be affiliated with those women.
  • Artcyclopedia gives you links to the works of individual artists in museums and public art galleries. In addition, the number of works available will give you some indication of the importance of an artist.


Step three - finding a copy of your focus piece

You need to find an image to include with your topic proposal:

  • Google Images. There are many images available freely on the web, but make sure that the image is of your piece (often times images that are located near the name of the piece are not the actual piece).

  • ArtStor contains hundreds of thousands of high resolution images.

Step four - is this a good piece to focus on?

Find out a little about the artist/patron

  • Was this person famous at the time they created the piece?
  • Have you heard of this person? If no, investigate whether they are still well-known?
  • Was this person known for things other than their art (i.e. their politics, their religious beliefs)

Investigate the piece‚Äč

  • Was this piece famous at the time it was created?
  • Is this a piece of art, architecture etc. that is still seen as significant?

Even if the artist and piece are not well-known, they can make a good focus piece. However, before you commit to it, it is worth doing some research to check if you can learn more about the artist and their work.