This course will focus on the art and biographies of groundbreaking women artists of the Renaissance and Baroque eras. In Europe during the 1400s, all the successful professional artists were men, but by the mid-1500s, pioneering women, led by Sofonsiba Anguissola, began to break societal barriers. The course will examine the cultural context that made it difficult for women to receive training in the arts, and analyze the factors that contributed to greater opportunities for women. While some women of the mid and late 1500s found success as portrait and still life painters, certain areas of art remained off limits, especially sculpture and history painting. In the 1600s, the number of professional women artists grew, particularly in Northern Europe where the Protestant Reformation led to increased education for women. A highlight of this century was the exceptional career of Artemisia Gentileschi, who triumphed in the highly competitive field of history painting.