At the Prado in Madrid, I became light-headed—so much history, so many masterpieces. I crossed a threshold into a room with two larger than life paintings on one wall—Goya’s Second of May, 1808 and Third of May, 1808. Both paintings were more than eight feet by eleven feet. I knew this art, had homeschooled my children and taught them art history. I gazed at the Spaniard’s rebellion against Napoleon, then turned to view, the following day, when a Spanish rebel faced a French firing squad. My knees buckled and I wept.
A year later, I visited the Chicago Institute of Art. Once again, a painting stopped me in my tracks. This time it was Picasso’s Old Guitarist. The old man’s fragile humanity was laid bare on the canvas. I nearly forgot to breathe.
In the contemporary art wing, the work was brilliant, but old. Nothing created after the 1960s. More importantly, too few pieces were by women artists.
Where is the brilliant art by women? Tucked into galleries, museums, and institutes around the world. I want to get to it all, but can’t, except on the internet. It’s not the same as seeing a piece in the flesh, but it can still touch my soul’s heartstrings.