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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Cassandra Fidelis

b. circa 1465, Venice; d. 1558, Venice

Cassandra Fidelis (Fedele) was educated in philosophy and literature as a child and by the age of twelve was fluent in both Latin and Greek. A famed humanist intellectual in her day, Cassandra delivered orations on subjects such as the arts and education, and corresponded with other scholars in a collection of letters that were published, along with some of her orations, in 1636. She reached the height of her intellectual career at the age of twenty-three and was then married in 1499, after which her scholarly life virtually ceased. In 1520, she was shipwrecked and lost all of her possessions. A year later, when her husband died, she wrote to some of her contacts seeking help. Cassandra was made prioress of an orphanage at the Church of San Domenico di Castello in Venice, where she remained until her death.