In the 1500s and 1600s, against all odds, the art of women began to emerge. Artemisia Gentileschi, for example, survived rape and is now something of a feminist icon, a painter who created powerful works that used fabled stories to explore the emotions of women. Sofonisba Anguissola had kings and queens as her subjects, while Lavinia Fontana painted the noblemen and noblewomen of Bologna, her hometown. At the Palazzo Reale, 34 such women are brought together. Some are better known, others less so, but all defied convention to become part of art history. —E.C.
Palazzo Reale Piazza del Duomo, 12, 20122 Milano MI, Italy Get Directions »