A Renaissance Joke: What a 500-Year-Old Self-Portrait Reveals

Dec 21, 2021 248


Sofonisba Anguissola’s Bernardino Campi Painting Sofonisba Anguissola (c.1559) is a reminder that works of art are living objects, bearing traces of their experiences. A sophisticated mise-en-abyme – a painting within a painting – depicting Campi, an artist from Reggio Emilia, working on a portrait of his student, the young Anguissola, it has mutated over nearly five centuries to reveal not only, literally and metonymically, the hand of the artist, but an aggregation of interventions by critics and restorers.

It hangs today in the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Siena – a reworked, rethought, approximated realization of Anguissola’s intentions, full of the mystery and weight of its indistinct history, and of the singular, inventive talent of one of the few female artists to be mentioned in Giorgio Vasari’s Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects (1568).

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SOURCE: https://www.frieze.com/

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