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The Pietà
by Sofonisba Anguissola

05 January 2024

An aristocrat by birth and one of the first female painters to achieve European fame, Sofonisba painted this small canvas during her stay at the court of Philip II in Madrid. The work is a reduced size copy of a painting by Sofonisba's master, Bernardino Campi, and its intimate and calm tone clarifies its function as a painting of private devotion.  The two figures, set in a natural space, recall examples from early 16th century Italy in their design, with a glimpse of contemporary Lombard-Venetian altarpieces. The openness of the rosy landscape in the background, as well as the accurate anatomical rendering and gestures testify to a careful study of the natural datum.

Sofonisba Anguissola | Pietà | 1574 - 1585 | oil on canvas 44 x 27 cm | Pinacoteca di Brera | Milan (Italy)