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Sofonisba Anguissola (also spelled Anguisciola) (Italian Renaissance painter) ca. 1532 - 1625

Sofonisba Anguissola received a well-rounded education that included the fine arts and her apprenticeship with local painters set a precedent for women to be accepted as students of art. Anguissola traveled to Rome, where she was introducted to Michelangelo who immediately recognized her talent, Milan, where she painted the Duke of Alba, Madrid, which was a turning point in her career serving as a court painter and painting many official portraits for the Spanish court, and Palermo, Pisa, and Genoa, where she was the leading portrait painter. Self-portraits and family members were her most frequent subjects, but, in her later life, she also painted religious themes. Unfortunately, many of her religious paintings have been lost. Anguissola became a wealthy patron of the arts after the weakening of her sight. In 1625, she died at age ninety-three in Palermo. Anguissola's oeuvre had a lasting influence on subsequent generations of artists, and her great success opened the way for larger numbers of women to pursue serious careers as artists. Her paintings can be seen at galleries in Bergamo, Budapest, Madrid (Museo del Prado), Naples, Siena, and at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. * * * Lucia Anguissola (also spelled Anguisciola) (Italian Renaissance painter) ca. 1537 - 1565-67 Lucia Anguissola was born the third daughter of seven children to Amilcare Anguissola and Bianca Ponzoni in the provincial northern Italian city of Cremona. Amilcare subscribed to the ideas of Baldassar Castiglione regarding how young women should be educated and provided his six daughters with a humanist education. This education included latin, singing, and painting. Lucia’s two older sisters, Sofonisba and Elena, were sent to study with the local painter Bernardino Campi. Although Elena stopped painting when she entered a convent, Sofonisba enjoyed fame during her own life for her skill. When Sofonisba returned home she taught her younger sisters; her reputation in painting was such that it was no longer necessary for Amilcare to apprentice his daughters to other artists. Lucia demonstrated a keen interest and talent in painting and it is difficult to distinguish her paintings from the work of Sofonisba. Although Lucia died in her mid-twenties, her skill was reputed to be equal to that of her sister. In fact, the Florentine scholar and biographer of the lives of artists, Filippo Baldinucci (1624-1696), believed that her skills would have surpassed that of Sofonisba had she not died so young.

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