www.whyville.net Sep 9, 1999 Weekly Issue

Sofonisba Anguissola

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An Artist in Portraits and Portraiture

      Have you noticed that the streets of Myville are all named after famous scientists and artists from the Renaissance? In case these folks aren't so famous to you, you might want to follow along this series of articles, and get to know the person on whose street you're living. This week's article is an artist who was best known for her work in portraiture.

by Lois Lee
Times Staff

Towards the end of the Renaissance, Italian noblewoman Sofonisba Anguissola (1532 - 1625) became the first female artist to reach international fame. She was so famous, in fact, that most of her paintings that still exists today are self-portraits: she was such a celebrity that pictures of her were in great demand! Her innovative portraits are best noted for their warm colors, crisp details, and the highly expressive eyes.

Sofonisba's father believed in the Renaissance ideal, that "all aristocrats, male and female, should be highly trained in the social arts." In fact, of six daughters and one son, only the son did not become an artist! All of the sisters accomplished much, but only Sofonisba enjoyed such success and reknown, even receiving paintings from the elderly Michaelangelo in respect of her efforts. The fame and reputation that Sofonisba earned inspired many younger women of the Renaissance to become professional artists as well.


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