Sofonisba Anguissola

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Many individuals had helped advance the Renaissance the belief in humanism. These people were great thinkers and their ideas are still considered achievements today. One of these great thinkers was a woman, to be specific she was the first woman artist, Sofonisba Anguissola. Being the first woman artist, during a time of mainly male artist’s is an achievement in of itself, but her work on self-portraits helped in shaping the renaissance and in advancing the ideal of humanism. Painting since her father sent to her to train under the great painter Bernardino Campi the age of 14. Sofonisba quickly mastered painting techniques, developing such life-like paintings that “they seem to confront nature itself” (Sofonisba Anguissola).

Sofonisba Anguissola quickly rose the ranks and became one of the only, and the best female painters during the Renaissance. Her self-portraits highlighted “the idea of female beauty as an equivalent of art” (Sofonisba Anguissola the “Miracolo di Natura”). Painting like this was vastly different because most humanistic Renaissance paintings sexualized and objectified woman. “Thus the first woman painter to achieve fame and respect did so within a set of constraints that removed her from competing for commissions with her male contemporaries and that effectively placed her within in a critical category of her own.” (Chadwick, 79). Sofonisba’s originality and innovation was further demonstrated when she corresponded with the great painter Michelangelo (Sofonisba Anguissola the “Miracolo di Natura”). Seeking criticism, she sent the great Michelangelo a portrait of a young girl crying. He responded by sending the portrait back and saying “ he would rather have seen the more difficult subject of a crying boy” S...

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.... “It leaves one to wonder if she could accomplish what she had within an established set of restrictions what more she could have produced if those restrictions did not exist.”(Sofonisba Anguissola the “Miracolo di Natura”).

Works Cited

Chadwick, Whitney. Women, Art and Society. 3rd edition. (London: Thames & Hudson, 2002)
Slatkin, Wendy. Women Artists in History From Antiquity to the Present. 4th edition. (New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2001)
Vasari, Giorgio. The Lives of the Artists. Trans. Julia and Peter Bonadella. (Oxford University Press, 1991)
Garrard, Mary D. Here’s Looking at Me: Sofonisba Anguissola and the Problem of the Woman Artist. Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 47, No. 3 (Autumn, 1994), pp. 556-622
Jacobs, Frederika H. Woman’s Capacity to Create: The Unusual Case of Sofonisba Anguissola. Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 47, No. 1. (Spring, 1994), pp.74-101.

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