Quinn, Bridget. Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (in That Order). San Fracisco: Chronicle Books, 2017. ISBN-13: 978-1-4521-5235-3. $29.95 USD.
I recently attended a book talk where Bridget Quinn was featured, and while I had not heard of her prior to attending the panel, I already had an interest in the subject of the panel, which was the ways in which women have been silenced throughout history, and I was eager to read her book, Broad Strokes, having an interest both in women’s and art history.
While I don’t read a lot of non-fiction for fun, I found this book easily accessible, due to the tone, which is more approachable than the standard, footnote-laden academic tone, without diminishing her credibility as a scholar. Within the biographies of each of the artists featured, she also describes her own personal connection with each of them, which helped me to become more invested in each artist’s biography.
And while the structure of the book reflects the passage of time, from the Renaissance to the present day, there are common themes that come up for many of the women, regardless of the time they lived, one prominent one being the role of their mother’s death, how they fit (or didn’t) into the Society of the time, and on reasons why some of these artists faded into relative obscurity until now. This book was truly an educational and entertaining experience, introducing me, or helping me to get more acquainted with some of the underappreciated women artists throughout history, and has inspired me to seek out more information.