Lavinia Fontana

Lavinia Fontana

Lavinia Fontana (August 24 1552-August 11 1614) was an Italian painter.


Lavinia Fontana was born in Bologna, the daughter of the painter Prospero Fontana, who was a prominent painter of the School of Bologna at the time and served as her teacher. Continuing the family business was typical at the time.

Her earliest known work, "Child of the Monkey", was painted in 1575 at the age of 23. Though this work is now lost, another early painting, "Christ with the Symbols of the Passion", painted in 1576 is now in the El Paso Museum of Art. [,%3Cbr%3EEl+Paso,+TX&works&10] She would go on to paint in a variety of genres. Early in her career, she was most famous for painting upper-class residents of her native Bologna. She also created paintings of male and female nudes and large scale religious paintings.

Fontana married Paolo Zappi (alternately spelled Paolo Fappi) in 1577. She gave birth to 11 children, though only 3 outlived her. After marriage, Fontana continued to paint to support her family. Zappi took care of the household and served as painting assistant to his wife, including painting minor elements of paintings like draperies.

Fontana and 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 and Pope Paul V himself was among her sitters. She died in Rome on August 11, 1614.

Some of her portraits, often lavishly paid for, have been wrongly attributed to Guido. Chief among these are "Venus;" "The Virgin lifting a veil from the sleeping infant Christ"; and the "Queen of Sheba visiting Solomon". Her self-portrait – in youth she was said to have been very beautiful – was perhaps her masterpiece; it belongs to Count Zappi of Imola, the family into which Lavinia married.

While her youthful style was much like her father's, she gradually adopted the Carracciesque style, with strong quasi-Venetian coloring. She was elected into the Academy of Rome, and died there in 1614.

There are over 100 works that are documented from early sources, but only 32 signed and dated works are known today. There are 25 more that can be attributed to her, making hers the largest oeuvre for any female artist prior to 1700. Sofonisba Anguissola may have been an influence on her career.

Major works

* "Self-Portrait with the Spinet Accompanied by a Handmaiden" (1577) - Accademia Nazionale di San Luca, Rome
* "Consecration to the Virgin," - Musee des Beaux-Arts, Marseilles, originally the Gnetti Chapel, Santa Maria dei Servi, Bologna
* "Portrait of a Lady with Lap Dog" (c. 1595) - Walters Art Museum, Baltimore
* "Portrait of Gerolamo Mercuriale" (c. 1587-1590) - Walters Art Museum, Baltimore
* "Noli me tangere" (1581) - Uffizi, Florence
* "Assumption of the Virgin with Saints Peter Chrysologus, and Cassian" (1584) - Palazzo Comunale, Imola
* "Portrait of the Coozzadini Family" (1584) - Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna
* "Holy Family" (1589) - El Escorial, Outside Madrid
* "Birth of Virgin" - Santissima Trinità, Bologna
* "Portrait of a Couple" (1580-1585) - Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland
* "Deposition" (1581) - Cornell Fine Arts []
* "Jesus among the Doctors" - Part of the Mysteries of the Rosary in the Rosary chapel in the Basilica of San Domenico, Bologna

Related links

Women Artists


*cite book | last=Chadwick|first=Whitney|title=Women, Art, and Society|publisher=Thames and Hudson|location=London|year=1990
*cite book|title=The Italian Renaissance|first=Paula |last=Findlen|id= ISBN 0-631-22283-9
*cite book|title=Concise Dictionary of Women Artists|first=Delia |last=Gaze
*cite book | last= Harris|first=Anne Sutherland |coauthors=Linda Nochlin|title=Women Artists: 1550-1950|publisher=Los Angeles County Museum of Art|location=New York|year=1976
*cite book | first= Francis P.|last= Smyth |coauthors=John P. O'Neill| year=1986| title= The Age of Correggio and the Carracci: Emilian Painting of the 16th and 17th Centuries| chapter= | publisher= National Gallery of Art|location= Washington DC| others= | pages= pp. 132-136
*cite book|last=Murphy|first=C.P.|title=Lavinia Fontana: A Painter and Her Patrons in Sixteenth-century Bologna|location=New Haven and London|year=2003
*cite book|last=Hansen|first= Morten Steen |coauthors=Joaneath Spicer, eds.|title=Masterpieces of Italian Painting, The Walters Art Museum|location=Baltimore and London|year=2005

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • FONTANA, Lavinia — (1552 1614) Lavinia Fontana is credited with being the first female painter in Italy to enjoy a successful career as an artist working in an urban context. Lavinia accepted private and public commissions, painting numerous portraits and public… …   Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary

  • Fontana — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Le nom de Fontana est porté par plusieurs personnalités (par ordre alphabétique) : Alfio Fontana (1932 ), footballeur italien ; Benedikt Fontana …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Fontana, Lavinia — (8/24/1552 Bologna 8/11/1614) (Italy)    Painter. Daughter of well known painter Prospero Fontana who trained her. She became one of the most renowned Bologna Mannerists, respected in her own right. Her work included nudes and mythologically… …   Dictionary of erotic artists: painters, sculptors, printmakers, graphic designers and illustrators