Inspired by Art Herstory: Evelyn Pickering de Morgan’s ‘Medea’


Above: Evelyn Pickering de Morgan’s Medea, 1889

What may seem like another elegant portrait of a goddess is in fact a significant comment on telling women’s stories by women, not by men. Whitney Chadwick notes in Women, Art, and Society,

A number of […] women turned to the writings of women and to history’s heroic women for subjects that would enable them to enter the field of history painting. While women artists were seldom, if ever, given public commissions for history paintings, they nevertheless produced large and important works which proposed new readings of historical events. Often they retold historical incidents from a woman’s point of view […] Other works reported women’s support and friendship, or their strength. Evelyn Pickering de Morgan’s Medea of 1889 replaces conventional male representations of Medea as a cruel temptress and the murderer of her children with an image of a woman skilled in sorcery.

-Whitney Chadwick in Women, Art, and Society, 1996.


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