Sofonisba Anguissola THe Renaissance Woman: By Calvin Ang

Sofonisba Anguissola was an Italian Renaissance artist that was born in Cremona, Italy which at the time was controlled by Spain. She was born circa. 1535 CE to a minor noble family. Her father decided that she and her sisters would be educated in the arts instead of just things like needlework and religion like what was normal at the time. Sofonisba was trained by the famous frecoists Bernadino Gatti and Bernadino Campi. Her style of artwork was mostly portraits and scenes that included lots of people and there emotions and relationships. She utilized oil paintings in her paintings like ¨Three Women Playing Chess¨. Other famous paintings by Sofonisba include ¨Boy Pinched by Crayfish¨ and ¨Three Children with Dog¨. Sofonisba lived in comfort for her whole life because of her wealthy family and patrons. Her art was recognized by people like Michelangelo and numerous other renowned artists. Her work got her a place in the court of Philip II of Spain where she was invited in 1559 CE. There she drew many portraits of him and helped teach his new queen from France about art for around 15 years. During her life she had two husbands. The first one was a nobleman that was chosen by the court of Philip II for her. The next was an Italian sailor that she settled down with in Genoa Italy where she spent most of her life. Her style of painting is most relevant to Humanism, Naturalism, and Secularism. Her art stresses human emotions and relationships like the sadness of ¨Boy pinched by Crayfish¨ and the great friendship in ¨Three Sisters Playing Chess¨. It also is very closely intertwined with naturalism because her paintings have lots of scenic backgrounds and different lighting. It is secular because she did not often paint religious painting sticking to portraits of people.

¨Three Sisters Playing Chess¨

This piece, ¨Three Sisters Playing Chess¨ was painted by Sofonisba Anguissola in 1555 CE. The painting can be found today in the Museum Narodowe in Poznan, Poland. It is significant because it is probably Sofonisba´s most well known work and it also portrays the women as educated because they are playing a man´s game, chess, which shows how she was sort of campaigning for more female rights which was not common back then. The technique used in this was oil painting just like Leonardo DaVinci had come up with earlier in the Renaissance which helped create more vibrant colors and tones. The piece depicts two young women engaged in a very social game of chess. There is a very happy youth also standing beside the board. There is also an older woman who is probably their maid in the background. They are playing outside and there is some trees and grass in the background. The women are playing on a rather tablecloth and all of the younger women, all of the people besides the maid, are dressed in very fancy clothes. The chess board has in Italian, painted by Sofonisba Anguissola, on its side. Humanism is closely related to this painting because the piece shows three younger females that are clearly enjoying themselves playing a game of chess. The idea of friendship between these women is apparent. It puts relationship between humans at the center of things, that is what is most important in this painting. I find this piece interesting because it is probably one of the few paintings that has women as the star of the painting because they usually put men and masculinity first. This is also probably because it was painted by a woman which is also interesting to me because you never really hear about successful woman Renaissance artists like Sofonisba Anguissola.


Created with images by irinaraquel - "Sofonisba Anguissola - Self-Portrait Playing the Spinet" • irinaraquel - "Sofonisba Anguissola - Portrait of the Artist's Sisters Playing"

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