Any women in fontana

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Bolognese painter, mainly of portraits and holy scenes, who gave a successful example of Italian painting during the CounterReformation. s works: Lavinia Fontana virgo before her wedding ; Lavinia Fontana de Zappis most frequently later. Lavinia Fontana has to be considered a figlia d'arte, for she was the daughter of a painter, Prospero Fontana. This was the rule for the vast majority of Italian women painters of the 16th and 17th centuries, the only exception being the noblewoman Sofonisba Anguissola — Other artists who grew up in artistic households were the Milanese still-life painter Fede Galizia —the famous Artemisia Gentileschi —c.

Undoubtedly, at least in Italy, birth into an artistic household was the only way for a woman to become an artist. It was unacceptable for women to enter the botteghe, run by well-known male painters, as students. Generally speaking, as painters' daughters their learning occurred naturally during their early years, in an informal way, within the walls of their homes. In fact, women belonging to artists' families often aided their fathers and husbands, grinding, mixing and preparing colors, painting in backgrounds on canvases, and even painting unimportant portions of major paintings, but of course without ing their contributions.

The private lives of Italian women who became recognized artists often offered only difficulties, failures, or tragic ends. Artemisia Gentileschi was raped; Elisabetta Sirani died of poison; and many spent their lives wandering in foreign courts. A conventional life with a husband and a family was not the rule.

Lavinia Fontana was an exception, even among women painters: she had an independent, successful career and an ordinary life as a wife and mother. Bologna, in Fontana's time, was the second largest city of the Papal State. A well-known university town with 50, inhabitants, its bourgeoisie and nobility were wealthy but rather provincial.

Rome attracted many of the Bolognese who entered a religious career or made a living from related activities, often in decorative arts. Moreover, the midth century was turbulent: after a period of wars culminated in the Sacco di Romathe Italian peninsula was rife with political and religious tensions. Following the establishment of Spanish influence which directly governed the State of Milan and the Kingdom, later to be called Kingdom of the Two Siciliesthe Council of Trent — ended the period of theological disputes, but it affected the rest of the century by its strict vision of the world.

Even painting was strongly controlled as well as sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church. In arts, the Renaissance was over, Mannerism was fashionable, and Baroque was on the horizon. It was in such an atmosphere that Prospero Fontana's daughter was to reach her artistic maturity. Young Lavinia was baptized on August 24,in the Metropolitan church of St. Born a few days before date unknownshe was the daughter of the celebrated painter Prospero — and Antonia di Bartolomeo De Bonardis d. Her only mentioned brother and sister were Flaminio and Emilia, both of whom died before in fact, in her wedding contract Lavinia is Any women in fontana to be Prospero Fontana's only daughter.

It is known that Lavinia grew up in material comfort. Her father had been a well-known artist since the early s, even outside of Bologna; he worked with Perin del Vaga and the brothers Zuccari, all three major artists of the Mannerist movement, and he was patronized by Pope Julius III Ciocchi del Monte —who gave him an annual pension of 60 scudis.

Despite his frequent absence during Lavinia's childhood in —55, he was working in Rome; inprobably in Fontain-bleu, France; in —65, in Florence; in —70, in the Tuscan Citta' di CastelloProspero owned a bottega studio in Bologna. Inhe founded a new guild for painters in that city and became its leader. In 16th-century Bologna, any artisan including painters, who were considered manual workers until the end of that century needed citizenship, a and guild membership, in order to run a studio with pupils and helpers.

In such a position, Prospero was at the center of local Bolognese artistic life and many major painters were among his pupils, including Lorenzo Sabbatini —Orazio Samacchini —the Flemish Denis Calvaert —Bartolomeo Passarotti —the French sculptor Giambologna Jean de Boulogne, —Bartolomeo Cesi — and, above all, the young brothers Ludovico —Agostino — and Annibale Carracci — Prospero was also well-positioned within the town's intellectual milieu and was a close friend of the naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandiwho taught at Bologna University.

Moreover, he personally collaborated with Bologna bishop, Cardinal Gabriele Paleotti, who had been an adviser to the Council of Trent in its last days and an intimate friend of Carlo Borromeo, the Milanese archbishop and future saint. Thanks to Prospero's technical support, in Paleotti was able to publish his treatise on holy images and paintings, defined by the historian Roberto Zapperi as the Inquisition's handbook on images.

It is possible to claim that Lavinia took advantage of her privileged position, breathing art, as she did, from the cradle, and, more practically, inheriting her father's ambient connections, patrons and clients. Documents do not provide any details about Lavinia's childhood and adolescence until the yearand no information exists about her instruction. One century later, inLavinia's first historian Carlo Cesare Malvasia whose lengthy work on Bolognese painting is of lasting importance states that Lavinia's father personally took care of her artistic education, but we know for certain that she never worked in the bottega.

Apart from painting and drawing, she learned reading and writing, and it is unknown whether or not she entered a convent as a boarder, a usual course for well-brought-up girls. In any case, she received a good education, which also provided her with proper manners, typical of an upper-class girl and useful Any women in fontana dealing with important clients, as would later occur.

Her few preserved letters attest to a polished and skilled Italian. Art historian Cantaro points out that Lavinia writes in an elegant and cultivated hand. In her Portrait of Alfonso Lorenzo Strozzi Florence, Collection of the Earls Dal Peropainted inthe gentleman holds in his left hand a long, beautifully written, business letter. Finally, in all her self-portraits Self-portrait at a Clavichord with Servant,Self-Portrait in the Studio,and the Self-portrait, drawing,she underlines her lady-like attitude and social status, showing elegant, jewel-ornate dresses. In the first, she paints herself playing an instrument, as did Sofonisba Anguissola whom Lavinia knew and appreciated in one of her own self-portraits.

In the second, she is holding a pen and sitting at her desk. On February 14,Prospero promised Lavinia to the son of his friend Severo Zappi, a grain merchant. Giovan Paolo Zappi, who in correspondence was identified as "very wealthy and almost a gentleman," was an amateur painter and one of Prospero's students. He was to marry Lavinia before June As a present to her groom's family, Lavinia sent her Self-portrait at a Clavichord with Servant.

Upon viewing the painting, Severo Zappi, who had never met Lavinia, wrote that the bride was "not fair and not ugly, but just in the middle, as women have to Any women in fontana. On his part, Prospero willingly provided them with housing, food, and clothing, as well as Lavinia's Any women in fontana, composed of a house and property.

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In the first 15 years of marriage, Lavinia gave birth to a series of children, but, as we know from Giovan Paolo's notebook of Ricordanze, of the eleven children, only four reached adulthood. The children's godfathers' and godmothers' names all belonging to Bologna's high nobility, like the Gozzadini, Boncompagni and Paleotti make apparent the high status enjoyed by the Fontana-Zappi family, thanks to Lavinia's art. Since the of her commissions was increasing ificantly in these years she was living in Bologna, only traveling in the neighborhoodit seems probable that she did not nurse her babies breastfeeding was the first, primitive form of contraception, but usually upper-class women avoided it and preferred to give their babies to wetnurses.

Her Birth of the Virgin c. Trinitawhich is considered among her greatest paintings, represents the scene of a delivery. While lying in bed eating an apple, St. Anne recovers from the birth assisted by a serving girl who holds a bed warmer; the baby Mary the Virgin is being washed near the fireplace; completing the domestic scene are a dog and a cat in a corner. Although this subject belongs to a strong iconographic. During the years of her maternities, Lavinia continued to work hard with great success. Though she was still not admitted to the Bolognese painters' guild—usually Italian women were not, unless they were widowed—Lavinia certainly belonged to the painters' world.

Her remarkable production of paintings—oil on canvas, wood and copper— and a few drawings testify to her busy creative life. The full catalogue of her work, assembled by the art historian Maria Teresa Cantaro inidentifies about one-hundred works as incontestably attributed, usually dated and ed, and now located in Italian and foreign museums.

In her early period, Lavinia's style is strongly influenced by her father's, but shows as well the influences of Emilian painters, like Correggio or the less famous Lelio Orsi, and the Fontain-bleau school, revisited in a Flemish use of light, and, later, of the Carraccis' naturalism.

The first historical evidence of Lavinia's work dates from the early s. At the beginning of her career, she preferred small formats, representing holy scenes for domestic and private piety. In the same period, and particularly in the following two decades, she was cultivating her real talent, portraiture. This field often brought women Any women in fontana success for one practical reason: gentlemen preferred having their wives and daughters pose for long hours in front of a woman painter, within their palaces.

In general, portraits provided the only way to capture and preserve people from the oblivion of the death. Often portraits pictured people who had died long before, as happens in the beautiful Portrait of the Gozzadini Family, where the gentleman sitting at the center of the table, as well as his daughter who gives him her hand, had died in andrespectively.

Lavinia painted this picture in Moreover, since portraits testified to the importance and wealth these individuals had reached during their lives, the subjects were usually painted with objects and in an atmosphere that indicated their professions. At the same time, it was crucial to protect people who asked for portraits from the Counter-Reformation accusation of superbia: only kings and Popes were allowed to have themselves painted. When, probably inLavinia portrayed Carlo Sigonio, the famous historian and professor at Bologna University, she was fulfilling the request made by the Dominican Spanish father Alfonso Chacon, who was collecting portraits of eminent men and women "who were relevant for their holy lives, … their bravery in the army or the liberal arts.

More precisely, Lavinia possessed a certain talent in realistically capturing the physiognomy of her subjects. She paid much attention to small details, such as embroidery, lace and jewels that women and men wore when they posed, showing all possible status symbols. Even dogs, besides the ificance of fidelity, were proof of a high status. Furs had the same aim beside the practical one of attracting lice from the clothes and bodies of the ladiesas in the sable worn by the Any women in fontana painting now in Washington D. Pittora singolare tra le donne … che andava al pari delli primi huomini di quella professione.

A unique painter among women … who was at the same level of the most excellent men painters in that profession. In the same years, Lavinia did several public commissions. Inshe painted the 1. This painting is an oil on canvas, for, since it was not acceptable for women to paint in public places even in churchesthe commissioned frescoes could not be done in loco. John the Baptist for the Escorial monastery, Pantheon of the Infants still on the main altar, for Any women in fontana it was commissioned.

King Philip II of Spain paid the enormous price of 1, ducats for this picture whereas in the same period the now very famous Annibale Carracci received only ducats for paintings of similar size.

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This altar-piece is considered one of Fontana's masterpieces. Lavinia moved with her family to Rome —04the last step of her successful career. The center of life was now in the capital. She was famous enough to survive without the Boncompagni family's patronage, which had protected and helped her from the beginning of her career, when Ugo Boncompagni was sitting on St.

Throughout her life, Lavinia had strong supporters, and in Rome she lived in Cardinal d'Este's palace. The beginning of her stay brought criticism of the huge pala she did for the church of San Paolo fuori le Mura destroyed in the fire. This was her last public commission.

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Still, in the following years Lavinia preserved a certain amount of success. She portrayed a of important people, including Pope Paul V and the Persian ambassador both portraits have been lost ; and she painted small paintings on mythological rather rare in her work or historical subjects, like the famous Cleopatra VII Rome, Galleria Spada. Between andin the church of Santa Maria della Pace, she painted four full-length saints the virgins CeciliaAgnesClaire, and Catherine of Siena ; oil on slatedecorating the Rivaldi Chapel, deed by the architect Carlo Maderno.

Maria sopra Minerva. Only three of her eleven children outlived her. Her sons, Flaminio, Orazio and Prospero, wrote the text of the engraved tombstone, now destroyed, which told of her being a proved painter whose "fame reached outside the feminine sphere.

He had spent all his life as Lavinia's personal manager. With her death, the glory of the rest of the family was over, and they all moved back to Imola. In the following centuries, the fame Lavinia Fontana enjoyed in life disappeared. She was remembered more as being a prodigy of nature, a woman painter as skilled as a man painter.

Only in Any women in fontana times has her talent been discovered again, in the wake of the recent attention to women's history. Cantaro, Maria Teresa. Lavinia Fontana bolognese "pittora singolare.

Any women in fontana

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Lavinia Fontana