I was reading about Hypatia and came across this:
Raphael was commissioned to paint The School of Athens for Pope Julius II. The fresco was to be painted above the philosophical section of the Pope’s personal library. In his original draft, Raphael placed Hypatia in the center, just below the central figures of Plato and Aristotle. The church fathers ordered her removal. Raphael still managed to sneak her into the fresco, however, disguised as another figure. Hypatia is the woman dressed in white in the lower left of the painting, looking directly out at the viewer. Hypatia, once condemned by a church father, now gazes out over the church fathers.
What a sad reflection on the church "fathers" that they had such a problem with a great woman philosopher being given a prominent position in a painting of philosophers. It is a prime example of men with authority using their power to keep women from being seen as having value equal to men.
In the final version, Painting Raphael painted Hypatia with some guy leering creepily at her. As if to say you can't have a woman in a painting without her being a distraction. Ugh.
It is becoming easier to find out about women from history - but it takes effort - and knowing where to look.
Hypatia has a place at Judy Chicago's Dinner Party:
In addition to creating a great space for the "Dinner Party" (which is one resource for finding about some historical women), The Brooklyn Museum (& Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art) has a great website. It's great to be able to revisit the exhibit from home.
Life is an unfoldment, and the further we travel the more truth we can comprehend. To understand the things that are at our door is the best preparation for understanding those that lie beyond. - Hypatia