Avant-Garde Ladies!
Victorine Meurent

Victorine Meurent was a painter, but is better known today as Manet's favorite model. Art historians have long held that she was a prostitute, who had a casual sexual relationship with Manet and who died of alcoholism at a young age. The truth is, Meurent exhibited in six Salons, some of which Manet's work was rejected. As well, it is unlikely that she ever slept with Manet, as he died in his 50s from Syphillis, which was then uncurable, and she lived over 20 years with a woman. Victorine continued to paint throughout her life until her death at the age of 83.

Compendium Pages 3 Due
Edouard Manet. Victorine Meurent in the
Costume of an Espada. 1862.










Death of Cleopatra

Edmonia Lewis. The Death of Cleopatra. 1876.











Edmonia Lewis.  Death of Cleopatra (scale and detail).  1876.











Death of Cleopatra


Edmonia Lewis. The Death of Cleopatra. 1876.
Girls, Guerrilla. The Guerilla Girls' Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art. New York: Penguin Books, 1998.
William Wetmore Story.  Cleopatra.  1869.











Death of Cleopatra

Reginald Arthur.  Death of Cleopatra. c. 1914.











Photography invented 1839
Photography provided an open door to women interested in the arts because:

It had no canon, history or rules to adhere to

Photos were not initially considered art, so photographic practice was open to everyone (who could afford the equipment) without restrictions

It did not reqiure formal training (such as painting & sculpting)

Because it was considered a hobby, photographers were allowed great freedom of expression


Not surprisingly, women were among the first to argue the artistic merits of the photograph

The Kodak Girl. Australasian Photographic Review, January 23, 1911.











Lady Clementina Hawarden. Photographic Study. c. 1863.
Lady Clementina Hawarden. Daughters on a Balcony. c. 1865.











Isabelle Grace

Lady Clementina Hawarden.
Clementina Maude by Window. c. 1862.
Lady Clementina Hawarden.
Isabella Grace and Clementina Maude. c. 1863.











In 1861, the age of consent was raised
from 10 to 12 in England
While there is no evidence that Hawarden was deliberately exploring the topic of adolescent sexuality, the popular concern is arguably evident in her images
Lady Clementina Hawarden. Isabella Grace and Clementina Maude. c. 1863.











Rosebud Garden of Girls

Julia Margaret Cameron. Rosebud Garden of Girls. 1868.












Beatrice Cenci


Julia Margaret Cameron.  Beatrice Cenci.  c. 1860.
Julia Margaret Cameron. Sappho. 1865.