Art and Design KS3: Angelica Kauffmann and the Royal Academy

Historian Amanda Vickery explains that in the 18th and 19th centuries women faced challenges in being accepted as part of the art establishment.

It was hard for them to be taken seriously as artists and hard for them to train. In 1768, the Royal Academy opened and made it easier for women to become part of the art establishment, but it did not make female artists equal to men.

We see an engraving showing male founding members chatting in a room with two founding female members represented by portraits on the wall.

The two female founding members were Mary Moser and Angelica Kauffman.

We see portraits of the two women and learn that whilst Moser painted flowers and was a favourite of the Queen, Kauffman wanted to master 'history' painting.

This was difficult for a woman as it was thought only men should do this 'serious' work.

Also to do 'history' painting well she would have to paint full male figures often with few clothes, but women were not allowed to paint nudes because of moral standards of the time.

Kauffman studied the male form by looking at Roman and Greek statues and other people's sketches.

We are told Kauffman painted the emotional aspects of historical scenes to avoid people thinking she was trying to paint something only male artists should. This way she avoided criticism.

We see 'Penelope Taking Down the Bow of Ulysses', a painting that showed how Kauffman painted classical historical scenes focused on women.

Amanda praises Kauffman for making 'history' paintings at a time when most people did not think it was right for women to paint the male form.

Contains some nudity. Teacher review recommended prior to use in class.

This clip is from the series The Britain that Women Made.

Teacher Notes

The relevant key historical concepts are covered in this video: change and continuity; causation Relevant historical periods: Industrial Revolution; social, political and economic change of the 18th century.

_The teacher could post the following questions: How did technology help change the way people worked?

How did technology help women get a higher status?

How did technology help women do work that was thought just for men?

How did the Industrial Revolution change the status of women artists?

Curriculum Notes

This clip is suitable for teaching Art and Design and History at Key Stage 3 and Third Level.