A few weeks ago Betty was telling me a story about her early art days in New York. She used to head down to Cedars - a bar where artists like Jackson Pollock and Allen Ginsberg hung out - as one of the token female artists.
They would ask Betty to name one famous female artist. Her inability to name one proved their point that women would never gain prominence in the art world.
Well, meet Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614). She was one of the leading painters in the 16th century who gained widespread recognition in Western Europe. Famous for her portraits, Pope Paul V commissioned her as a court painter in 1604.
The picture here is one of Lavinia's - Portrait of a Noblewoman. The attention to detail is striking. It's a wedding portrait and the dog symbolizes marital fidelity (some things never change - there's no dog in the groom's portrait).
Just because we're not taught our own history doesn't mean we didn't crack that glass ceiling.