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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Gaspara Stampa

b. 1523, Padua, Italy; d. 1554, Venice

After the death of her father, the eight-year-old Gaspara Stampa moved with her mother to Venice, where she was educated in music and the arts. She became a poet and an accomplished musician, hosted a salon frequented by the leading literati of the day, and was inducted into the Accademia dei Pellegrini. Many of her poems are passionate sonnets inspired by her love for the undeserving Collaltino di Collalto, duke of Treviso, whom she met in 1548. Their affair ended badly three years later. After Gaspara’s premature death at the age of thirty-one, her sister Cassandra published a volume of her collected poems—more than 300—entitled Rime. The publication was not well received and Gaspara slipped into obscurity, but was rediscovered in the eighteenth century when a descendant of Collalto published a second edition of the book.