Sofonisba Anguissola- the woman who redefined Italian Renaissance



Self- Potrait by Sofonisba Anguissola, 1556

Sofonisba Anguissola (c. 1532 – 16 November 1625),In order to gain universal acclaim, she was the first female artist. In Cremona, Lombardy, Sofonisba Anguissola was born in 1532, the oldest of seven brothers.

Her aristocratic father made sure that the fine arts

included a well-rounded education for Anguissola and her sisters.


Anguissola was fourteen when she and her sister Elena were sent by her

father to train with Bernardino Campi, a respected Lombard school portrait and religious painter.


Anguissola moved to Rome in 1554, at the age of twenty-two, where she spent her time sketching different scenes and characters. While in Rome, another painter who was acquainted with her art introduced her to Michelangelo. Anguissola continued this informal research for at least two years, seeking extensive feedback from Michelangelo.


The chess game (1555)

The education and training of Anguissola has varying characteristics from those of men, since men and women served in distinct domains. Her most famous picture, The Chess Game (1555), portraying her sisters Lucia, Minerva and Europa. This painting was known as a piece of discussion, which is an informal portrait of a party engaging in lively conversation or other activity.



She grew well known beyond Italy, and in 1559 King Phillip II of Spain invited her to

be a lady-in-waiting and art tutor to Queen Elisabeth of Valois, who at that time was only 14.

She accepted and resided for 14 yeras, Throughout her 14-year residency, she led the creative growth of Queen Elisabeth and inspired the art of her two daughters, Isabella Clara Eugenia and Catherine Michelle.


The artist has twice gotten married. Living in Palermo with her second husband, Sofonisba was the epicenter of festivities of artists and intellectuals of the time. A fine finish for a woman artist who has been through whatever chance she has.


Throughout the entirety of her career, Anguissola remained a widely sought after artist. When she was in her late 90s, Anthony van Dyck is known to have visited her and noted that she was as quick-witted and passionate about her craft as always, a memorable detail that hints at the character of a woman who was before her time in many ways.



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