Categories
Art

From the Collection — Sofonisba Anguissola’s “The Artist’s Sister”

Sofonisba Anguissola, The Artist's Sister Minerva Anguissola, ca. 1564. Layton Art Collection, Gift of the Family of Mrs. Frederick Vogel, Jr. Photo by P. Richard Eells
Sofonisba Anguissola, The Artist's Sister Minerva Anguissola, ca. 1564. Layton Art Collection, Gift of the Family of Mrs. Frederick Vogel, Jr. Photo by P. Richard Eells

The work of an art historian or curator can sometimes be like that of a master investigator or CIA agent. For example, a trail of clues led to the probable identification of the woman in this painting by Sofonisba Anguissola. Anguissola is one of the earliest identified female artists, working in Italy in the late 1500s. Rare for the Renaissance, Anguissola was famous in her own time and worked as the court painter for the King of Spain, a job she secured thanks to the portraits of her family that she’d painted as she grew up and honed her skills. The girl in this image is the spitting image of many of Anguissola’s family members, with her round face, large hooded eyes, and long nose. But Anguissola had five sisters and two brothers, so who is this?