Tuesday, 27 October 2020

household botanics

Born this day in 1744 (†1819) and enjoying the patronage of Queen Charlotte, Mary Moser was to become one of the most celebrated women painters of her time, famous for her portraiture and her depictions of flowers especially. Her initiative for artists to receive professional recognition led to the formation of the Royal Academy (previously) in 1868 after an earlier attempt championed by William Hogarth failed to come to fruition. Of the thirty-six founding members, only two were female—the other being Angelika Kauffmann who also took an active role in the new society.
To celebrate fellow member Johan Joseph Zoffany painted a group portrait of the academicians (1772) studying male nudes presumably for a future project, and current social mores restricted from engaging in such activity—both posing and viewing—and to circumvent this prohibition, Zoffany (known for this style of painting called the “conversation piece,” Konversationsstรผck) added framed pictures of Moser and Kauffmann on the wall.