martes, 20 de agosto de 2019


Alina Cohen
Art patronage connects aesthetic taste with power. By purchasing paintings and sculptures, collectors become tastemakers, support artists’ careers, and—through portraiture—generate enduring images of themselves. Art can also serve diplomacy: When collectors host a political fundraiser in rooms filled with work by marginalized artists or give a world leader a portrait of themselves as a gift, they signal specific values and ambitions. By commissioning public buildings, churches, and museums, patrons create potent architectural spaces for preserving their legacies and that of their artwork.

For millennia, patriarchal societies around the world have excluded women from traditional leadership roles. As patrons of the arts, women have been able to exert soft power in creative ways. According to Virginia Treanor, associate curator of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, many women have also been drawn to “the intellectual and philosophical opportunities” that art provided in eras when they had limited access to higher education. By developing world-class collections and creating major art museums, Treanor said, “women have shaped the course of art history.” While this list is by no means exhaustive, it highlights 16 extraordinary female patrons spanning geographies and centuries who have changed the way we look at art.

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