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Portrait of Queen Anna of Austria, 1573 – Sofonisba Anguissola (1532-1625)

Though she drew on models characteristic of Spanish court portraiture, the soft modelling, diffuse lighting and subtle brushwork are distinctive features of Sofonisba’s own style, and of the Lombard painting of her day. Sofonisba achieved great renown, and worked at the Spanish court from 1559 to 1573. This may therefore have been her last commission in Spain, intended as a companion piece to her portrait of the king (P1036).

Sofonisba Anguissola‘s most distinctive and attractive paintings are her portraits of herself and her family, which she painted before she moved to the Spanish court. In particular, her depictions of children were fresh and closely observed. At the Spanish court she painted formal state portraits in the prevailing official style, as one of the first, and most successful, of the relatively few female court painters. Later in her life she also painted religious subjects, although many of her religious paintings have been lost. In 1625, she died at age 93 in Palermo.

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