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July 2007

Sofonisba Anguissola’s Self-portrait

Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2007;9(4):308-309. doi:10.1001/archfaci.9.4.308

The young woman depicted in this exquisite miniature was the most successful and influential female painter of the Italian Renaissance. Her distinctive portrait style earned her praise from her contemporaries and later generations of court portraitists. Sofonisba Anguissola (ca 1532-1625) was the eldest and most gifted of the 6 daughters of the Cremonese nobleman Amilcare Anguissola and his wife Bianca Ponzoni. Aware that his small fortune would be insufficient to provide dowries for his daughters, in 1546 Amilcare sent the 2 eldest, Sofonisba and Elena, to train in the studio of the portraitist Bernardino de Campi and later that of Bernardo Gatti. On completion of their training, Elena entered a convent, and Sofonisba undertook the artistic education of her younger sisters, of whom Lucia and Europa became accomplished portraitists in their own right.Article