Women of WAM: Depictions of Femininity in Early Modern Europe

Self-guided Exhibition
October 28, 2020 – September 5, 2021

Jan Gossaert, Portrait of Queen Eleanor of Austria, about 1516
Jan Gossaert (Netherlandish, about 1478–1532), Portrait of Queen Eleanor of Austria, about 1516, anonymous loan.

The Worcester Art Museum's collection of European art contains many paintings and sculptures depicting female saints, mythological subjects, and members of elite society. In this self-guided exhibition, you will have the opportunity to reflect on how these works both embodied and reinforced the idealized notions of femininity in Early Modern Europe. Come experience the psychological “double bind” such often contradictory depictions reinforced for those who hoped to emulate both the piety and sensuality they saw in art.

The works in this self-guided exhibition can be viewed in the early European galleries (210, 208, 206, 204, 201, 203) on the second floor surrounding the Renaissance Court.

Download the exhibition guide (PDF 596KB)

Download map showing exhibition location (PDF 374KB)

In this recorded virtual Clark After Dark program, hear Professor John Garton, associate professor in the Visual and Performing Arts Department at Clark University, and the student curators of Women of WAM: Depictions of Femininity in Early Modern Europe talk about the process of researching and designing the self-guided exhibition.

Collaboration between Clark University and the Worcester Art Museum made this exhibition possible. Clark University students chose the theme, selected the works and wrote the special labels and brochure. Funding was provided in part by the Art History program, Visual & Performing Arts, Clark University, and seeded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Rutland Herald Online
Women of Worcester: 'Femininity in Early Europe'
By Carl Daher Delnero, July 10, 2021

Clark Now
Art history students curate, research exhibition on the ‘Women of WAM’
By Melissa Lynch, June 11, 2021