Though many can appreciate the skill and beauty in Renaissance and Baroque art, these styles lack in how they portray the subjects in their work. Emily Malone, painter based in the U.K., seeks to reclaim the objectified women. Malone, who considers herself as “a painter of pop-arty, renaissance-y things,” recreates Renaissance and Baroque paintings in a bright, refreshing way.
Malone is in her second year of her Fine Art degree and has built her artistry skills over the years.
Even during the pandemic, she states that “it propelled me forward.” With all of her time spent in her bedroom studio during the pandemic, she notes that she could “dedicate all of my time to developing my style and trying to become a better painter.”
Though she is gaining a formal education in Fine Art, she was introduced to the colorful, pop-art style she uses from social media.
“I use Pinterest a lot and just used to save a lot of colourful paintings, comic book art, classic art and things to inspire me. I wanted to have fun with painting instead of trying to paint semi-realistic portraits and things like that,” says Malone.
With over 2,000 followers on her Instagram and a thriving TikTok account with over 12,000 likes, all kinds of audiences have been able to see her fresh spin on classic art. As a young artist with a big vision, social media has been a great tool for her. Malone comments that, “I think it’s difficult for young people to get their foot in the door of the art world, especially without a degree.”
The painter also mentioned how the pandemic was able to get her art more involved on social media. “With everyone being at home, naturally people were more active on social media which worked in my favour,” says Malone.
She acknowledges that social media is a new way for artists to get their work out there and seen. But, Malone also states that “I don’t know where that will lead me in years to come, if anywhere.” Regardless of her social media presence or lack thereof, she notes that it is critical to keep creating.
Her idea to combine her upbeat style with Renaissance and Baroque art came from her admiration for these styles. “I’ve always loved the elegance of Renaissance art. Like I would visit the National Gallery in London and just think… wow.. I really just admire everything about them; the detail, the composition, the dreaminess, the mythology and symbolism,” Malone notes.
Although she appreciated the grace and depth of the art, Malone states, “there’s another part of me that just loves colourful stuff.”
After combining the contrasting elements, she began to explore and challenge how women in Renaissance and Baroque art were expressed. As Malone says, in these styles, “[women are] often presented through the male gaze.” The male gaze being a term coined by feminist, film theorist, Laura Mulvey. As Rachel Sampson summarizes in her article “Film Theory 101 – Laura Mulvey: The Male Gaze Theory” the media portrays women as “passive objects of male desire.”
Malone combats the male gaze in her art by adding a “pop-art lens,” she claims. She explains that “using bright colors and patterns to bring to life otherwise objectified women in classical paintings” is her goal. “I’m inspired by colour and use it spontaneously.”