Monday 6 February 2017
FREE TO ATTEND
Helen Scott, Curator of Fine Art on Suffragettes
In early 1914 the British female suffrage movement was at its militant height. Denied the right to a democratic vote, suffragettes engaged in a range of violent activities devised to draw attention to their cause. Window-smashing and arson were common tactics. On 10th March a new form of militancy was adopted: iconoclasm. Mary Richardson entered the National Gallery and slashed the Diego Velázquez masterpiece The Toilet of Venus (The Rokeby Venus) with a hatchet. Her action scandalised the nation, and stimulated a wave of assaults on paintings in museums and galleries that would last for five months. This lecture examines the suffragettes’ iconoclastic campaign in depth, exploring the actions and motives of the women responsible, and investigating contemporary responses to the attacks. Dr Helen Scott is Curator of Fine Art at the City Art Centre in Edinburgh. Her doctoral research focused on acts of iconoclasm carried out by members of the public in Western museums and art galleries.
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