The chance to get to know the extraordinary power of female art

The exhibition is dedicated to the female self-portraiture from the sixteenth century to the present day, and it focuses on the sixty female painters in the so-called 'women's section' of the Uffizi's self-portraits collection. For the occasion, twenty contemporary artists were added, who responding to the organisers' call, donated their self-portraits. The “disrespectful” number of contemporary female portraits, which failed to reflect the actual evolution of the arts in the twentieth century, led the museum to request new self-portraits from female artists in Italy and abroad. Eighty female self-portraits – sixty from the Vasarian Corridor and from the repositories and the twenty new ones have been put together for the exhibition.

The exhibition wants the visitors to reflect on the insufficient presence of female artists in the Uffizi’s vast collection, they represent only 7% of the entire collection, but it wants also to reflect on the choices of collectors, patrons and directors, who have been able to include works by female artists in the collection.

The exhibition traces, through the observation of past and contemporary works, the attention paid by female artists to their own image. If the female painter of the sixteenth century, perpetuating the study of self through the mirror, a technique discovered by a female artist, self-portraiture was also accomplished through the use of new media.

Nevertheless, the female universe was bound to male territory, to the studies of fathers, brothers, husbands; achieving fame, often at the expense of personal life, was an exception.


Ketty La Rocca (La Spezia 1938 - Firenze 1976), Autoritratto di Ketty La Rocca “Craniologia”, XX secolo (1973), radiografia, stampa fotografica, inchiostro su plexiglas, pellicola fotografica. Firenze, Galleria degli Uffizi, DepositiThérèse Schwartze (1851 – 1918), Autoritratto di Thérese Schwartze van Duyl, XIX secolo (1888), olio su tela. Firenze, Galleria degli Uffizi, DepositiMéret Oppenheim (Berlino 1913 - Basilea 1985), Autoritratto di Merret Oppenheim, riproduzione fotografica. Firenze, Gallerie degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi  Olga Carol Rama (Torino 1918 - 2015), Autoritratto di Olga Carol Rama, 1949, olio su cartone. Firenze, Galleria degli Uffizi, DepositiGiacomo Balla (Torino 1871 - Roma 1958), Ritratto di Luce Balla, 1928, olio su tela. Firenze, Galleria degli Uffizi, DepositiEsther Ferrer (Donostia-San Sebastian, Spagna 1937), Autoritratto di Esther Ferrer “Eurorretrato”, sec. XXI secolo (2002), fotografia b/n e colore. Firenze, Gallerie degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi  Arte


Self-portraits. Female artists of extravagant and dextrous ingenuity. The 10th edition of the “I mai visti” exhibition series

Sala delle Reali Poste, Uffizi Gallery, Florence

17 December 2010 – 30 January 2011

Exhibition curated by Giovanna Giusti

Exhibition catalogue published by Edizioni Polistampa (available only in Italian)

Soprintendenza per il Patrimonio Storico, Artistico ed Etnoantropologico e per il Polo Museale della città di Firenze; Galleria degli Uffizi, Amici degli Uffizi, Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze