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Three Remarkable Women



Three Remarkable Women: Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun, Margaret Chinnery, and Félicité de Genlis

March 23 - September 1, 2013

In honor of women’s history month, the IU Art Museum will premiere a focused exhibition featuring Vigée Le Brun’s Portrait of Mrs. Chinnery (1803) and selected materials from the Lilly library. The exhibition presents an unusually rich opportunity to use a single artwork as a lens for an interdisciplinary study of the history, politics, art, literature, and music of its time.


Lecture and Performance

Giovanni Battista Viotti: Italian Violin Virtuoso and Composer

Sunday, April 7, 2:00–3:15p.m.

Thomas T. Solley Atrium, first floor


Massimo Ossi, professor of musicology from the Jacobs School of Music, will discuss violinist Giovanni Battista Viotti’s friendship and collaborations with his patron, Mrs. Chinnery. Professor Ossi’s presentation will be followed by a performance by students from the Jacobs School of Music. The music program will include a quartet for flute and strings and a cello duet, representing the kinds of chamber music Viotti composed for Mrs. Chinnery’s salon and private entertainment.


Keynote Lecture

Reading, Writing and Representing: A Tale of Three Women

Thursday, April 11, 5:15–6:15p.m.

Hope School of Fine Arts, Room 102


Mary D. Sheriff, the W.R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Art History at the University of North Carolina and author of The Exceptional Woman: Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun and the Cultural Politics of Art (1996), will present the keynote lecture. In Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun’s stunning Portrait of Mrs. Chinnery, the celebrated painter and patron of the arts symbolically commune with the influential writer Stéphanie de Genlis, whose manuscript Mrs. Chinnery is holding. Through a visual analysis of the image, combined with a reading of the artist’s memoirs, the sitter’s letters, and the writings of Madame de Genlis, this lecture explores the portrait as a narrative of the relations among three distinguished women.


A High Tea-themed reception in the IU Art Museum’s Thomas T. Solley Atrium will follow the lecture.