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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Isabella Andreini

b. 1562, Padua, Italy; d. 1604, Lyon, France

Isabella Andreini (born Canali) was the leading actress in the Compagnia dei Gelosi (Company of Jealous Ones), the most popular commedia dell’arte troupe of sixteenth-century Italy and famed throughout Europe. In 1578, Isabella married fellow actor Francesco Andreini and together they performed with the Gelosi until her death. She was also a writer of sonnets, songs, and the enormously successful pastoral play Mirtilla (1588). She died in Lyon of a miscarriage—what would have been her eighth child—at the age of forty-two.