Art Historian & Painter
Art Historian Rebecca Jelbert

Rebecca Jelbert, Art Historian

Paula Modersohn-Becker
Rebecca has had a major article published in The Burlington Magazine, ‘Paula Modersohn-Becker’s self-portraits and the influence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’, vol. 159 (August 2017).

Modersohn-Becker was a highly innovative painter who used her nude self-portraits to express her passion for life and art. This research was borne out of an interest in Germanic art of the twentieth century, in which artists such as Paula Modersohn-Becker, Käthe Kollwitz, and Birgit Jürgenssen used aspects of the human body to explore issues of identity, emotion and loss.

Michelangelo Buonarroti
Four years ago, Rebecca made a discovery that lead to a completely new interpretation of the Sistine Chapel frescos in the Vatican, Rome. The writing up of this ground-breaking research is now underway.

Rebecca was first moved to study the work of Michelangelo as a result of her research into Paula Modersohn-Becker. In a letter to her parents in 1900, Modersohn-Becker wrote of Michelangelo and Rodin, ‘That such human beings exist on earth makes living and striving worthwhile’.

 Paula Modersohn-Becker
Michelangelo Buonarroti

I remember spending hours as a child drawing out ancient figurative artworks, such as the Bayeux Tapestry and Egyptian tomb paintings, on the back of BBC news scripts that my father brought home from work each week. This fascination for art of the past stayed with me but, as I got older, I started to think more deeply about the messages artists were trying to convey, and about their individual influences.

My experience as a painter has helped me enormously in my art history research as it has given me a great insight into the practical and psychological processes of artistic creativity.

I am particularly interested in the way artists have adapted works created by previous painters and sculptors to communicate their own highly original thoughts and ideas.
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