Famous Female Artists – denied, appropriated or destroyed

This is a recurring theme, most recently reignited in my mind by the article “The Missus was the Maestro” about Professor Martin Jarvis and his forensic examination of Bach’s manuscripts in the Sydney Morning Herald. Anna Magdalena Bach (ne Wilcke) is now considered the author of the famed 6 cello suites and the aria from the Goldberg variations.

I had been listening to the Cello Suites the day before the article appeared and as a naive listener, had said to myself something like ‘fancy that! I would never have picked those pieces as Bach!’

And it’s not as though the manuscripts didn’t say “Written by Anna Magdalena Bach”. It is just that for 250 years, scholars have assumed that that means “transcribed by” because she was a woman and his wife. APPROPRIATION!

I posit that great women artists have existed through time, but in the words of Sarah LeFanu and “in the chinks of the world machine”. They have been appropriated or denied. *** since revised opinion that denial is so deep that we can’t judge male and female by same standards.


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