Happy International Women’s Day! To celebrate the day, I wanted to share about this art book that I just finished reading – Women Who Read Are Dangerous – that focuses on women reading in art!
I remember thinking before, that I noticed the lack of paintings that featured people reading, specifically women and girls reading. Books and reading are my first love – how I like to say it! – and I wanted to see how books and art go together in artworks. I’m so glad to chance on this fantastic book by Stefan Bollmann (translated from German by Christine Shuttleworth) that led me to discover all of these paintings!
I have not seen most of the artworks in the book before, in fact, most of the artists featured in the book are also unfamiliar to me. Maybe the (more famous) artists that I know of didn’t choose to depict this sort of everyday, mundane act so much, but I’m happy to discover all of these artists too.
While we might associate reading as something ordinary and commonplace now, the title of the book refers to the long period of time when women did not have free access to books and readings. The foreword by Karen Joy Fowler and introduction go into more detail of how the public (or men) were afraid to give women the power to read.
For me, books have been great sources of entertainment, sites of fantasy and imagination, and bearers of knowledge. They make up a very important aspect of my life and I try to maintain my reading as much as I can!
It’s really nice to see then how these artists showed the women in their lives reading all kinds of books and letters – leisurely, seriously, emotionally, attentively, and more. I have to point out though, that most of the paintings are by male artists, and all of my favourite paintings featured in this post are by male artists too. But I suppose, I would touch on women artists at another point.
After reading this book, I now want to buy a copy to keep all of these paintings within easy reach! For this International Women’s Day, I want to reiterate how happy I am that we women can easily go to libraries and bookstores and start reading all kinds of books.
With that, I would also like to read and review more art books! Go here to see my last review of the exhibition catalogue for China: Through the Looking Glass at the Met Museum.