Sometimes I know weeks in advance of writing these posts what badass woman I want to celebrate or skill I want to share. Other times, like this time, it takes weeks of procrastination, pestering loved ones for ideas and noodling around aimlessly on the internet. (Come to think of it, this is not unlike my creative process in general.)
It was during one such internet-noodling that I stumbled across the artist Fede Gallizi.
Fede Gallizi (b. 1578) meets many of the requirements to melt my feminist art-history-nerd heart. Successful during times of Ye Olde Sistemic Misogynie? Check. Quietly excellent and forward thinking in a way that exceeds both men and women of her time? Check. Forgotten after her death, ‘rediscovered’ only recently? Check. Mad trompe l’oeil skillz? Oh check, indeed.
Fede Gallizi or ‘Galizia’ as she was known, was introduced to painting at an early age by her father, a successful miniature painters. Galizia started rocking pretty early. By age 12 she was already getting shout-outs from grown-up dude-artists (As a rule, 16th century grown-up professional dude-artists were not prone to paying compliments to children, so we can assume she must’ve been pretty bad-ass). By the time Galizia was 18, she was an established painter, doing theoccasional commissioned altar piece, landscape and illustration. Her real business, though, was in portraiture. With her crazy attention to detail, especially when it came to clothing and jewelry, her work was in consistent demand.
What she’s best remembered for, though are her still lifes. Even if bowls of fruit and flowers aren’t your thing, consider this- The first one cataloged, done in 1602, is thought to be the first dated still life by an Italian artist.
OH, and if being a pioneer in terms of subject matter isn’t enough to impress you, how about the fact that the way she painted them- simple arrangements, often of one type of fruit, close cropped and balanced compositions- wouldn’t be seen again until the 20th century:
But all trail-blazing and forward-thinking aside, even separate from the ‘Larger Narrative of ART History’ Galazia won me over with her simple, charming, nearly-perfect arrangements and sheer painting skill. I mean, look at this:
Ah! That grasshopper kills me every time! What did she use, a .000001 brush!? So. Rad.
Like most people living in the fifteen and sixteen hundreds, details about her personal life are few and far between. By all accounts, she continued to paint and lead a quiet, happy and successful life. (Take that Myth of the Tortured Genius.)
In honor of these simple but perfect paintings, and the beginning of berry season, this month’s short and sweet how-to is:
How to Freeze Fruit (in a way that’s not totally annoying).
Okay, so obviously, you can freeze fruit by just sticking it in the freezer. But if you’ve ever stuck a bag of blueberries in the freezer only to find yourself later, chipping away at a purple iceberg and sobbing over the lost dreams of pancakes and cobblers, then you know what I’m talking about when I say ‘in a way that’s not totally annoying.’ Don’t worry, you don’t need to be Julia Child, or a a level 10 mage- all you need to know are a few tips:
- For fruit that needs no cutting (i.e. blueberries, raspberries, grapes, etc.)- spread the fruit on a cookie sheet and pop into the freezer for an hour or so. You can then put all the individual frozen fruit into a bag or container to store in the freezer, now frozen AND scoopable.
- For fruit that you want to cut in some way (i.e. peaches, strawberries, bananas etc), cut first, then follow tip number 1. Boom. Done. Go live your life.
- Special Banana trick: So you could follow tip 2. for bananas, but if you, like me, like frozen bananas in your smoothies AND are supremely lazy, there’s an even easier way. Literally stick the whole banana in the freezer, peel and all. When you need it, just microwave for 10 to 15 seconds. The banana will still be frozen enough to be awesome, but the peel will come away easily. You’re welcome.