Sarah Bradford

Renaissance Woman

Lavinia Fontana: A Painter and Her Patrons In Sixteenth-Century Bologna

By

Yale University Press 236pp £45 order from our bookshop

LAVINA FONTANA’S SELF-PORTRAIT at the age of twentyfive presents her as she wished to be seen: a confident, well-dressed young woman in comfortable circumstances. She is seated at a keyboard instrument, indicating culture and accomvlishment. and attended by a maiiservant ‘holding her music-book. Her clothes look well enough and she wears a necklace of coral under a delicate lace ruff, but they are not sumptuous by Renaissance standards. In the background stands an easel, the means by which she earned her living. There is a distinct air of middle-class social aspiration about the painting, its composition clearly based on a similar but more striking self-portrait produced some twenty years earlier by a rival artist, the noblewoman Sofonisba Anguissola, and reproduced on the gentleopposite page in Caroline Murphy’s new book.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Lecture on war and peace in 19th-century Europe by Professor Sir Richard Evans, Thurs 25 Oct, 6.30pm Europe House… ,
    • 'Why, throughout the world, are so many people fascinated by the fiction and reality of espionage? And why of all p… ,
    • . here on books, Muriel Spark and life's tangled dance ,
    • RT : There aren't enough aggressive subtitles these days: ,
    • Churchill's on the cover of the October edition of the magazine. Piers Brendon reviews two new books about the Brit… ,
    • 'Readers have no more power to predict where the next story is going to take them than the prisoners had to determi… ,
    • 'Ho was no Soviet or Chinese puppet. He was a nationalist first and foremost. Had the Americans just realised this.… ,