Italian artist Sofonisba Anguissola revisited, and her contemporaries

This 2017 video is about Sofonisba Anguissola.

This is a re-working of my earlier entry on Sofonisba Anguissola.

In the post 1500 history of Europe and countries with much European influence (in order not to make the subject too big and too complex), women on average had less chance of becoming visual artists than men.

According to Elke Linda Buchholz, the Renaissance at least somewhat improved the chances of women in this.

Well, of some women: Buchholz writes that about forty women artists are known from sixteenth century Italy; ‘almost without exception they were the daughters of painters’.

Examples of this: Barbara Longhi, often painting the Virgin Mary of Christianity; and Lavinia Fontana, who depicted the pagan Roman goddess Minerva.

After becoming artists, women had less chance of becoming famous artists (most art critics being male, etc.)

Not just conservatives, but also Giovanni Boccaccio, usually seen as a progressive herald of the Renaissance in arts, had prejudices against women, including as artists.

Now, some women who were more or less exceptions to this rule.

Sofonisba Anguissola lived from about 1535 (1532, some accounts say) to 1625.

A younger contemporary and friend of Michelangelo, like him, she lived to a very old age, certainly for the sixteenth century.

So, she became an older contemporary of Anthonie van Dyck, whom she influenced.

She was an exception to women artists in her time in that her father was not a painter.

However, she had the advantage of growing up in a family which had money, social prestige of aristocracy, and interest in arts.

Unlike others of his class, her father believed in the idea of some writers then, that not just the sons, but also the daughters of the nobility should get a good education, including in arts.

She managed to get a job at the Spanish court, teaching 14-year-old queen of Spain Elisabeth de Valois how to draw.

She painted this portrait of herself at work when she was 26.

However, when the queen died nine years after the painter’s arrival, she had to return to her native Italy.

This series on women artists will continue, in between blog entries here on other subjects.

4 thoughts on “Italian artist Sofonisba Anguissola revisited, and her contemporaries

  1. Pingback: Early twentieth century women artists | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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