Barcelona Cultura
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Seated Women. 16th and 17th century female spaces and furniture

Women are the protagonists of this exhibition, whose basic source of information is furniture, well as select other everyday objects that allow us to configure the female imaginary and highlight the role of women in the modern age. The exhibition narrative is complemented by other works of art from private collections and museums, many shown for the first time to the public.

We reflect on what society was expecting from women as well as their occupations and obligations both inside and outside the cloisters. Similarly, there are female spaces in the domestic sphere, from the semi-private “estrado” reception room to the bedroom, as well as respects related to the dowry. The exhibition is designed with the chair as the main focus as a piece of furniture that, according to its shape and height, helped to indicate the place a person occupied in the society.

cadira reina

From this symbolic role of seating in the modern age we have taken the title Seated Women. It is inferred that, subject to man and often seated in chairs lower than theirs, women should raise their gaze to address their male partners. However the exhibition suggests that they also had important roles of family and social responsibility such as education, health, food and hygiene, and they knew how to fulfill and carry out with great wisdom. It reminds us that monastic spaces were the places where women, led by women, could have more freedom to create and grow as people. The monastery was a place where the abbess made her authority clear; a role that was market symbolically with the armchair she used, even when visited by authorities from outside the monastic community.


Ajuntament de Barcelona