Women artists and women in art – saints, prostitutes, duchesses, etc.

This is an extract from the final episode of Simon’s Art in London – Virtual Tour Series Two. In the final episode Simon focuses exclusively on women in art, both as subjects and artists. In this short taster Simon guides various depictions of Mary Magdalene and then turns his attention to Hans Holbein’s only full-length portrait of a woman.


“red we associate with prostitution generally”

“why was Mary Magdalene singled out to witness the resurrection?”

“you can always tell Mary Magdalene because she’s the most emotional one”

“you can see the underdrawing just there”

“it might be a Venetian prostitute in the guise of Mary Magdalene”

“it’s the only surviving full-length portrait of a woman by Holbein”

“the most eligible widow in Europe, she was sixteen years ago”

“the red stone can be interpreted as a symbol of her mourning”

“in just three hours she sat for this portrait”

“she’s almost moving toward us”

“now we’re going to move on to a slightly darker story here”


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