presentation of the book by Elisabetta Rasy
published by Mondadori, 2019
with Elisabetta Rasy and René De Ceccatty

What links Artemisia Gentileschi, raped at the age of eighteen by her father’s friend and then the protagonist of a seventeenth-century painting, to a beauty and charm icon of the 20th century like Frida Kahlo? What is the connection between Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, forced into exile by the French Revolution, and Charlotte Salomon, persecuted by the Nazis? Is there anything that ties the elegant Berthe Morisot, to whom Édouard Manet dedicates passionate portraits, to the transgressive Suzanne Valadon, the lover of Toulouse-Lautrec and many others in the Paris of the Belle Époque? Despite the diversity of historical era, environment and personality, there is an essential common trait among these six painters: first of all talent, but also the strength of desire and the courage to rise up against the rules of the game imposed by society. In fact, each individual artist possessed certain innate qualities of the soul which allowed them to tackle their own fragility and the aggressions of life: ancient feminine resources, such as courage, perseverance and resistance, or vices transformed into virtues, such as restlessness, rebellion and passion . Elisabetta Rasi narrates the life of the six painters and their undaunted uniqueness with special attention for the details of intimacy which design their destiny. Thus we meet a very young Artemisia, fleeing the Roman slanders after a shameful trial, who makes her way into the Florence of the Medici but does not want to do without love. Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, Marie Antoinette’s famous portraitist, who crosses Europe painting for the most important royal courts and aristocracy without ever leaving her child. Berthe Morisot, impeded by her family and academic critics, who becomes the premiere dame of the Impressionists. The scandalous Suzanne Valadon, lover and model of the great artists of late nineteenth-century Paris, who chooses to become a painter herself fighting against poverty and prejudice. When Charlotte Salomon feels her life coming to an end under the Nazi forces, she narrates her brief and stormy life in a single monumental project - Life? or Theater? -  artwork that includes music and theater in her paintings. Frida Kahlo, who is torn apart by illnesses at a very young age, challenges physical suffering and amorous torment with her provocative images and her overwhelming look. The self-portraits of these artists, which open the intense pages of Elisabetta Rasi’s book, look into the reader’s eyes and exhort him to discover their audacity in fighting and winning the hard battle to establish professional success - beyond prohibitions, obligations, misunderstandings and prejudices - changing women’s image and place in the world of art forever.


29 June
Sala Pegasus
free entrance


Elisabetta Rasy was born in Rome, where she lives and works. Read