Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Sophonisba Anguisciola

signature image

Sofonisba Anguissola. Self-Portrait, 1554. Kunsthistorischesmuseum, Vienna

Sophonisba Anguisciola
b. circa 1532, Cremona, Italy; d. 1625, Palermo, Italy

The common spelling of this name is SOFONISBA ANGUISSOLA.

Sofonisba Anguissola was born into a noble but relatively impoverished family of Cremona and, along with her five sisters and one brother, received a humanist education that included literature, music, and art. She and her sisters all were artists, but she was the only one to achieve an international reputation. In 1559, she became painting instructor to Isabel de Valois, young wife of the Spanish monarch Philip II, and traveled to Madrid. There she remained for at least thirteen years; in 1573, the king arranged a marriage between Sofonisba and the Sicilian aristocrat Fabrizio de Moncada. The couple settled in Sicily, but Sofonisba was widowed three years later. Meanwhile, she continued to paint and her output was enormous, principally portraits and self-portraits, but also religious paintings. She married again, this time to a Genoese nobleman, but spent her last years in Sicily, where she was visited by the young Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck in 1623/24. Sofonisba was around ninety years old at the time; van Dyck's drawing of her and the notes he took of their conversation are preserved in one of his sketchbooks.

Related Place Setting

Artemisia Gentileschi

Related Heritage Floor Entries

Leonora Baroni
Rosalba Carriera
Marie Champmeslé
Elizabeth Cheron
Maria de Abarca
Properzia de Rossi
Elizabeth Farren
Lavinia Fontana
Fede Galizia
Marguerite Gerard
Nell Gwyn
Angelica Kauffman
Joanna Koerton
Adelaide Labille-Guiard

Judith Leyster
Maria Sibylla Merian
Honorata Rodiana
Luisa Roldain
Rachel Ruysch
Sarah Siddons
Elizabette Sirani
Levina Teerling
Luiza Todi
Caterina Van Hemessen
Marie Venier
Elizabeth Vigeé-Lebrun
Sabina Von Steinbach