From Cloister to Canvas: Plautilla Nelli and the Painter Nuns of Renaissance Florence

Jun 26, 2023 248

The recent fascination surrounding Renaissance painter and nun Plautilla Nelli follows a familiar narrative. The inspiring story goes a little along the lines of: “genius-woman-artist-finally-recieves-art-historical-due-after-centuries-of-obscurity,” and is one we know all too well.

Most articles about the now-revered nun are quick to point out that she was just one of four women cited in Giorgio Vasari’s seminal 1550 work Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects, considered a cornerstone of art historical scholarship, and this narrative is, of course, an undeniably important one. 

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