The Artist's Sister Minerva Anguissola

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Sofonisba Anguissola (Italian, 1532–1625)
The Artist's Sister Minerva Anguissola, ca. 1564
Oil on canvas
33 1/2 × 26 in. (85.09 × 66.04 cm)
Layton Art Collection, Gift of the Family of Mrs. Frederick Vogel, Jr. L1952.1
Photo credit: John R. Glembin
Not Currently on View

Encouraged by Michelangelo and Giorgio Vasari, Sofonisba Anguissola became the first woman artist of the Renaissance internationally known for her portraits, serving as court painter to Philip II, King of Spain, for over a decade. In family portraits such as this likeness of her sister, the artist was able to depart from formal conventions in favor of a more intimate naturalism. Probably done as a remembrance of Minerva, who died in 1564 it was once thought to be a self-portrait. However, drawings sent to the artist to describe her adult sister’s appearance along with the sitter’s ornamental medallion depicting Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, and her namesake, clearly establish the subject’s identity. The style is a blend of elegant Italian Mannerism and the warmer, more naturalistic painterliness of North Italian and Spanish painting

This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.