Wednesday, August 26, 2015

1500s Woman Artist - Lavinia Fontana 1552-1614


Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614) was born in Bologna, the daughter of fresco painter Prospero Fontana, who served as her teacher. As his only child, he would train her to carry on the family business. Early in her career, she concentrated on painting upper-class clients of her native Bologna, often with their small dogs which were sometimes seen as symbols of marital fidelity . She had begun her commercial practice by painting small devotional paintings on copper. She later created paintings of male & female nudes & large-scale religious paintings.

Lavinia Fontana (Italian painter, 1552-1614) Self-Portrait at the Spinet Accompanied by a Handmaiden

Fontana married fellow painting student Paolo Zappi in 1577, & gave birth to 11 children, though only 3 outlived her. After marriage, Fontana painted to support her growing family. Her husband Zappi took care of the household & served as painting assistant to his wife, helping paint minor elements of her paintings like draperies.


Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614)  Portrait of Laura Gonzaga in Green holding a Zibellini.

Fontana & her family moved to Rome in 1603, at the invitation of Pope Clement VIII. She gained the patronage of the Buoncompagni, of which Pope Gregory XIII was a member. Lavinia thrived in Rome, as she had in Bologna, & Pope Paul V was among her sitters. She was elected into the Accademia di San Luca of Rome, & died in that city on August 11, 1614.


Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614) Portrait of a Lady, 1590



Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614) Portrait of a Lady with a Lap Dog.



Lavinia Fontana (Italian painter, 1552-1614) Portrait of a Lady in a Pink Gown with her Pet Dog



Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614) Minerva dressing 1613



Lavinia Fontana (Italian painter, 1552-1614) Portrait of Bianca Degli Utili Masselli



Lavinia Fontana (Italian painter, 1552-1614) Portrait of a Girl 1580-83



Lavinia Fontana (Italian painter, 1552-1614) Family Portrait


Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614) Portrait of a Noblewoman with Dog



Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614) Portrait of a Lady of the Court with Dog 1590



Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614) , Portrait of Ginevra Aldrovandi Hercolani as Widow, 1595-1600



Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614) Bianca Cappello (1548-1587) 1590



Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614) Eleonora de’ Medici



Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614) Portrait of the Gozzadini Family, 1584



Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614) Portrait of a Lady


Lavinia Fontana (Italian painter, 1552-1614) Self-Portrait in a Studio


Lavinia Fontana (Italian painter, 1552-1614) Self Portrait 1595


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