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Muse: Uncovering the Hidden Figures Behind Art History's Masterpieces

Join us on Wednesday, May 25 from 5:30 – 7PM EDT at Sotheby's Institute's New York location on 570 Lexington Avenue. In this event Ruth Millington (Head of Careers, Sotheby’s Institute of Art London) discusses her first book, dedicated to uncovering the incredible true stories of 30 muses from the Renaissance to today, and the ways in which they have changed art history. Far from the prevailing perception as passive, powerless models posing silently, muses have often played influential and active roles in the lives of the artists who immortalized them. Ruth Millington talks about the compelling true stories of Dora Maar, Emilie Floge, Souleo, Lawrence Alloway, Beyonce and more.

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Speakers Biographies

Ruth Millington is an art historian, writer and critic. After studying art history during an MA at the University of Oxford, Ruth Millington spent five years working for museums and galleries across the UK, including the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art and renowned modern art dealership Connaught Brown.

Ruth lectures on art history, and has spoken at Women’s Aid, the University of Oxford and Sotheby's Institute of Art, where she is Head of the Careers Service.

She has been featured as an art expert on radio and TV, including BBC Breakfast, Woman's Hour, ITV News, and has written for national newspapers, including the Telegraph, The Sunday Times, Daily Mail and Express.

Her first book Muse uncovers the hidden figures behind art history's masterpieces. Featuring performing models and devoted parents, creative allies and muses who have been turned into messages, this book deconstructs reductive stereotypes, and reframes the muse as a momentous and empowered agent of art history.

Betsy Thomas has deep roots in the art world, having worked in the industry for over 25 years as an art advisor, appraiser, writer and educator.

Over a 15-year career in the auction industry at Christie’s in New York, she held several positions in departments including Old Masters Paintings,, Impressionist & Modern Art and 19th century European art. In addition to running her own art advisory firm, Betsy Thomas is on the Faculty at Sotheby’s Institute of Art. She teaches in the Masters of Art Business Program as well as in the online premier courses. Ms. Thomas holds a B.A. in the History of Art and Italian from Pomona College and an M.A. in from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London and is Chair of the US Alumni Association of the Courtauld.

This event includes a book signing.

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Please note: full proof of vaccination will be required.