Mental Floss

Women of the Venetian Renaissance

Andréa Fernandes
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We're doing a week of women on "Feel Art Again." Today's post brings you the four most prominent female artists of the Venetian Renaissance: Sofonisba Anguissola, Diana Mantuana, Marietta Robusti, and Lavinia Fontana.

Sofonisba Anguissola (1532-1625) began training under Bernardino Campi when she was only 14; she later trained under Bernardino Gatti. Anguissola's apprenticeships were unusual, as most women of the time only trained under their family members. Her apprenticeships made it more acceptable for other women to be students of art. When she was 22, she was introduced to Michelangelo, and began an informal training with the master that lasted at least 2 years. He would give her advice on drawings she made based on sketches from his notebook that he gave her. Anguissola was a court painter and art tutor to the queen in the Spanish Court of Philip III. King Philip III was so supportive of Anguissola that he even arranged her marriage at age 38 to Don Francisco de Moncada and provided her dowry.Shown at left is Anguissola's "The Chess Game" (1555)

Scultori
Scultori /

Marietta Robusti (c.1555-1590) was the daughter of the famous painter Jacopo Robusti, from whom she inherited the nickname la Tintoretta. Robusti had an especially close relationship with her father. She served an apprenticeship in his studio and even dressed like a boy so she could go everywhere with him. Court painter offers from both Emperor Maximilian and King Philip II were turned down by her father because he couldn't bear to part with his dear daughter. Although Robusti was a well-known portraitist with a "considerable reputation" in her day, painting everybody who was anybody in Venice, only one painting can be conclusively attributed to her today—her "Self Portrait" (1580) at left.

Fontana
Fontana /

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