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Art Gallery of Ontario Speaker Series | Art & Ideas: Making Her Mark with Dr. Cristina Acidini and Dr. Alexa Greist

Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici
Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici (Firenze 1667- Firenze 1743), the last princess in Florence


Women of the Past in Italy:  Between Art and Power

Dr. Cristina Acidini
Italian Art Historian, President of the Casa Buonarroti Foundation (Florence, Italy)

Dr. Alexa Greist

Curator and R. Fraser Elliott Chair, Prints & Drawings, AGO

Saturday, May 4 | 11AM

496 Huron St | Toronto ON

Inspired by the original AGO exhibition Making Her Mark: A History of Women’s Art in Europe, 1400-1800, the AGO welcomes art historians and creatives to Toronto for a series of conversations this spring.

On May 4, the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Toronto in collaboration with the AGO welcomes Italian Art Historian and President of the Casa Buonarroti Foundation (Florence, Italy), Dr. Cristina Acidini, followed by a conversation with Dr. Alexa Greist, Curator and R. Fraser Elliott Chair, Prints & Drawing, AGO.

Dr. Acidini will explore the different attitudes towards women in the arts in Renaissance and Baroque Italy, divided into different states.  In Florence, where a patriarchal mentality dominated, the great art historian Giorgio Vasari spoke of women as a curious rarity: however, he praised the painter nun Plautilla Nelli. In the Po Valley area to the north there was greater experimental freedom, so that in Bologna the sculptor Properzia de’ Rossi and the painters Lavinia Fontana and Elisabetta Sirani were successful. And from Cremona, Sofonisba Anguissola left for an adventurous life.  Artemisia Gentileschi was born in Rome: she is the ideal progenitor of strong and confident women in the arts and in life.

Presented by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Ontario.

As an art historian Cristina Acidini, born and graduated in Florence, worked for 35 years in the Italian Ministry of Culture, reaching high levels of responsibility as the chief of art museums. She studied and wrote on Renaissance themes, organized exhibitions and directed restorations. Today she presides over 4 cultural institutes.

Prior to joining the AGO in 2016, Alexa Greist held curatorial and research positions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Yale University Art Gallery. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania focused on 17th-century Italian printed drawing books, and a Master’s degree, also from the University of Pennsylvania, with a M.A. thesis on the early drawings of Joseph Stella. Greist’s area of specialty is Italian Renaissance and Baroque prints and drawings, and at the AGO she is responsible for prints and drawings from 1400-today.  In 2022, Greist co-curated the AGO exhibition, I AM HERE: Home Movies and Everyday Masterpieces.


Introducing a cast of new artistic heroines, Making Her Mark: A History of Women Artists in Europe, 1400-1800, brings together more than 230 items—from royal portraits to metal work, ceramics, textiles, and cabinetry—all to showcase the diverse contributions of women to Europe’s visual arts. The exhibition is set apart by its exclusive focus on objects made by women; it pioneers a dialogue among women makers from different levels of society, spanning centuries through their art. Making Her Mark: A History of Women Artists in Europe, 1400-1800 is co-organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

  • Organizzato da: Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto
  • In collaborazione con: Art Gallery of Ontario