Home > culture, diary, pride, sisterhood, travel > Unknown women: Angelica Kauffmann

Unknown women: Angelica Kauffmann

A great woman I heard about – for the first time today:
Angelica Kauffmann (1741-1807), an artist. Read about her here.

I’ve shared an extremely superficial relationship with painting/art over the years. Apparently when I was 8-10 years old, I’d written to my grandmom (ammamma) about me doing “three P’s: painting, paata (music) and ‘peaking”. I’m guessing the third meant public speaking. When she told me about this letter ten years later, I was ‘doing’ Physics and had no recollection of ever having painted anything – I’d lost it by then. All I vaguely remember is attending a summer painting/drawing class when I was 11 or 12, in Hyderabad, and I was really excited then at how simple it could be and that I could actually draw!!! YAY!!

Amma bought me a Paul Klee book sometime later in a book exhibition, by then I’d moved so far away it seemed like it was written in a strange language. I only felt mildly upset I couldn’t understand or relate to it, and it was more a loss for my ego than for my curiousity.

In college, again, a good friend was a painter – and she told me some “kewl stuff” about abstract art, like circles meaning continuity and triangles signifying agression and yin energy. Which was all very good, but like any artist would, she delivered this information with so much superciliousness I didn’t care to push too hard for more, even though I was very curious.

My first year working in a large multinational company, a visiting co-worker took me to an art gallery. She was interested in buying some art and had a clear size requirement. I was clearly out of my depth, but felt very welcomed by the owner who told me ‘just feel the art, listen to it, like it – you don’t have to understand it”. While this kind of statement usually delivered in Art of Living classes and by yoga instructors spewing pseudo-science puts me off, it was strangely comforting in a place where I felt more lost than I have at any science museum in my life.

Going to Europe was exciting the first couple times, of course, and the plethora of art everywhere definitely contributed to my enjoyment. But this time when we were planning our Italy trip, I avoided Florence because of the art – I didn’t want to feel so lost again. The learning/enjoyment vs. knowledge curves are definitely step-shaped, and I’m all plateaued out now.

And the last couple of years, I have, for the first time ever, had a little extra money and we’ve been wondering about how to buy/support art. I’m looking for women artists who make powerful, but positive, feministic art (I’m tired of being angry all the time!). An Indian artist would be even better. Suggestions?

Categories: culture, diary, pride, sisterhood, travel
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