Oil on canvas, c.1580
Sofonisba Anguisola c.1532 – 1625
Sofonisba is a very early example of a female artist working under her own name. Born in Italy, she was the first woman artist to achieve international renown.
Sent by her nobleman father to train with a prominent local painter, she was encouraged by Michelangelo, to whom she sent a work for appraisal.
Invited in 1559 to the Spanish court of Philip II, she remained as an artist in residence there for more than a decade.
She is most famous for her portraits, including self portraits and those of her family. Her work was often attributed to male painters of the time, such as Titian, Leonardo da Vinci, Moroni and Coello.
At 90, her portrait was painted by Anthony van Dyck, and now hangs in the British Museum.
MNEMG 1959.1.100 (1956.1)