Anguissola, Sofonisba

Anguissola or Anguisciola, Sofonisba sōfōnēs´bä äng˝ēsō´lä, –shōlä [key], c.1535–1625, Italian painter. Born to a noble family, she studied with Bernardino Campi and later with Michelangelo, painting primarily sensitive portraits of herself and her family members (the best known of which is The Chess Game, 1555, which portrays three of her sisters) and of other children and adolescents. She also painted for the Spanish court of Philip II. Although she never received critical praise, Anguissola was the first Italian woman artist to achieve social acceptance. Van Dyck painted her portrait (1623). Over the years many of her paintings were either lost, destroyed, or attributed to contemporary male painters. She began to be recognized again in the 19th cent. Her work is represented throughout Italy.

See M. Tsaneva, Sofonisba Anguissola (Masterpieces) (2019), and R. Yotova, Sofonisba Anguissola: Drawings & Paintings (2019); S. Ferino-Pagden, Sofonisba Anguissola: A Renaissance Woman (museum catalog, 1995); biography by S. Perlingieri (1992); study by M. W. Cole (2020).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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