Who was Sofonisba Anguissola?

Sofonisba Anguissola, Portrait of the Artist's Sisters Playing Chess 1555 Oil on canvas, 72 x 97 cm Muzeum Narodowe, Poznan.

Sofonisba Anguissola (1530–1625), born in Cremona into an aristocratic family, the best known of six painter sisters. She trained with Bernardino Campi and Gatti. Due to the constraints imposed on women of her time, she did not have access to anatomy studies or drawing from life. It is said that for this reason she focused on a type of portraiture with sitters in informal domestic settings instead of undertaking large-scale paintings with complex compositions. As lady-in-waiting to the Queen of Spain, Elizabeth of Valois, Sofonisba had the opportunity to paint formal court portraits. After her first husband´s death, she remarried and moved to Genoa and finally to Palermo in Sicily where she retired and received in 1623 a famous visit by the Flemish painter Van Dyck.

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