Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614) was born in Bologna and was the daughter of the painter Prospero Fontana, who trained her in the family home. She was responsible for running her own workshop and her works were commissioned by Pope Clement VIII. She is noted for her cultivation of genres of painting that were normally beyond the reach of women, such as group portraits, altarpieces, landscapes and, in particular, paintings on mythological themes in which she included nudes, a highly unusual detail. In this small self-portrait, executed on the occasion of her engagement to Giovanni Paolo Zappi, Lavinia wished to demonstrate her wide-ranging culture, solid education and careful manners. The Latin inscription in the upper left corner shows that Fontana painted his portrait in front of a mirror: “ex especulo imaginem oris sui expresit”.
Project: 11. Science and culture as representation in Europe.
Scope: Baccalaureate, University
Resource type: Image
Format: Oil on fabric, 27x23,8 cm
Source: Academia Nacional de San Luca (Roma)
Owner: Blanca Rodríguez Hernández (Modernalia)
Identifier: Inv. 0743
Copyright: Academia Nacional de San Luca (Roma)
Abstract: Self-portrait of the painter Lavinia Fontana playing the spinet