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Overflowing with Mushrooms: Women in Eighteenth & Ninteenth Century Art

For Always depicted with a basket overflowing with mushrooms…

In cultures the world over, womyn for long have been the primary mushroom collectors of both specimen and knowledge. It is womyn who are at the local markets selling and bartering with mushrooms and it is womyn who diffuse the knowledge to children, teaching about which mushrooms are “good” and “bad”. This gendered-role, reflected from culture to culture, is too reflected in the art work of centuries past. Featured here are some well-known European artworks from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries*. Artwork pertaining to womyn gathering mushrooms is not limited to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and is a fascinating world of its own to explore!

Eighteenth-Century Art

tumblr_ls7kiaYmHO1qfswibo1_500Rosalba Carriera (1675-1757)
Earth from the series The Four Elements, 1746

Gainsborough, Thomas - Haymaker And Sleeping GirlThomas Gainsborough (1726-1788)
Haymaker and Sleeping Girl, 1780’s

francesco zuccarelliFrancesco Zuccarelli (1702-1788)
Wooded River Landscape with a Boy Fishing and Two Peasant Women, 1700’s

Nineteenth-Century Art

gathering-mushrooms-1870Ivan Shiskin (1832-1898)
Gathering Mushrooms, 1870

camille-pissarro-women-gathering-mushrooms-from-travaux-des-champs-engraved-by-lucien-pissarro-1863-1944 Camille Pissarro (1830-1903)
Women Gathering Mushrooms, From ‘Travaux des Champs,’ 1893

henery-herbert-la-thangue-the-mushroom0gatherersHenry Herbert La Thangue (1859-1929)
The Mushroom Gatherers, mid-1890’s

Felix Schlesinger - The Mushroom GatherersFelix Schlesinger (1833-1910)
The Mushroom Gatherers, 1800’s

* Artworks first listed in Conspectus of World Ethnomycology:
Dugan, F. M. (2011). Ethnomycological Knowledge in premodern Western tradition: The herb-wives of Reformation Europe as midwives to the birth of mycology [Chapter 2]. In F. M. Dugan (Author), Conspectus of World Ethnomycology: Fungi in Ceremonies, Crafts, Diets, Medicines,and Myths (p. 17). St. Paul, MN: APS Press.

About the author of this post:
me

Currently living in the Northern Great Lakes Bioregion, Mara Penfil is a community organizer who merges traveling, education, and volunteer work to further the food, social and environmental justice movements. With a growing zeal for all things fungal, she spends her time with various mycelial networks across the country working to build mycological interest, understanding and community. Mara’s passion to blend social and environmental justice efforts led her to co-found Female & Fungi, the online presence for the ever growing Womyn’s and Trans’ Mycological Community.

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