Sofonisba Anguissola: Marvel of Nature
Academic Forum, No.23 (2005-6)
Born in Italy during the Renaissance, Sofonisba Anguissola was the first internationally recognized female artist. This paper examines the events that advanced her career and the cultural situation in which she found herself competing as an artist. Uniquely, during the Italian Renaissance arose a woman whose life story and oeuvre are unfolding again for modern day scholars. Sofonisba Anguissola became an exceptional painter and was recognized by Vasari, Michelangelo and Van Dyck during a period in history when women did not typically achieve recognition as artists. During the Renaissance, women were thought of as the object of representation rather than in the role of the subjective, thinking agent, or the artist. Sofonisba Anguissola was the first internationally recognized woman artist of the Renaissance, and she blazed a trail for other women artists to follow. Who was she, and how did she do it? How did she handle her career situation?