Women’s History Month in Visual Arts~ March 2

Iaia of Cyzicus

Clicking this image will take you to the The British Library web site where you can see a larger version.

Iaia of Cyzius was a Roman painter and ivory carver active around 100 BC. None of her work is known to have survived.

Like Timarete, Pliny the Elder mentioned Iaia in his Natural History during his discussion of women artists…
“Cyzicus, who never married, painted pictures with the brush at Rome (and also drew with the cestrum or graver on ivory), chiefly portraits of women, as well as a large picture on wood of an Old Woman at Neapolis, and also a portrait of herself, done with a looking- glass. No one else had a quicker hand in painting, while her artistic skill was such that in the prices she obtained she far outdid the most celebrated portrait painters of the same period, Sopolis and Dionysius, whose pictures fill the galleries.”

Iaia is also one of the three women artists mentioned in Giovanni Boccaccio’s De Mulieribus Claris, although he renames her Marcia Varronis. As with Timarete, there are a number of illuminations picturing her as a medieval artist.

Iaia is sometimes referred to as Lala/Lalla, and it is under this name that she appears on the “Heritage Floor” as part of Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party.

[There are four embedded links above]

See also: March 2~ Women’s History Month in visual arts

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