Female Renaissance and Baroque Artists You Should Know

Sofonisba`s self-portrait

Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael – the masterpieces of these famous artists can be seen in the largest museums around the world. But during the Renaissance, not only men but also women created brilliant works of art with a brush and paints. We decided to highlight this topic and create a gallery of world-famous female Renaissance artists.

Levina Teerlinc

Miniature of Elizabeth I, Queen of England (Levina Teerlinc, 1565)

Levina’s estimated date of birth is 1515. Her ancestors were famous Flemish artists and even kept their own studio for creating portraits in Ghent (the territory of modern Belgium). Levina’s father was married twice. From two marriages, six daughters of the dynasty of artists were born. Levina was the eldest of them, and it was she who continued the family tradition.

In the 1530s, the female Renaissance artist was recognized as a talented master of creating miniatures far beyond the borders of her native land. Levina Teerlink painted miniatures for four kings in a row: Henry VIII and his children — Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I. Her success as a court artist was dizzying for a woman of the XVI century. Now her works are considered part of the British cultural heritage and are kept in the largest museums in the United Kingdom.

Sofonisba Anguissola

Portrait of the Spanish Princess Catalina Michaela of Austria (Sofonisba Anguissola)

The female renaissance artist was born in 1532 in northern Italy. All her sisters (there were three of them) were artists, but only Sofonisba was able to achieve wide recognition. When she was 22 years old, she came to Rome, where her talents were noticed by Italian artists of the time, including Michelangelo. For several years in a row, Michelangelo sent Sofonisba his drawings and recommendations so that she could develop her own talent herself.

In 1556, the female Renaissance artist began painting official portraits of members of the royal family. Now Sofonisba is considered one of the first Renaissance artists and a symbol of women’s freedom.

Female Renaissance paintings are studied in all Spanish courses on the history of painting and are exhibited in leading museums around the world. The National Museum of Women’s Art in the USA and the National Prado Museum are among them.

Catharina van Hemessen

Portrait of a woman, Catharina van Hemessen

The female renaissance artist was born in 1527 in Antwerp, the Netherlands. Her teacher in the art of painting was Jan Van Hemessen, her own father and a famous Flemish artist of that time. Katarina had a small choice of teachers, considering that only boys from 9 to 14 years old were taken to art workshops.

At first, Catharina painted portraits. The female renaissance paintings were so realistic that, despite informal prohibitions, she was accepted into the Guild of St. Luke – an association of recognized artists, sculptors and printers.

The portraits by Catharina were to the taste of Duchess Maria of Austria. In 1556, she invited the artist to Spain. Catharina agreed, thereby ensuring a comfortable future for herself and her family. Now, the female Renaissance paintings can be seen in the main museum of Latin America – the Art Museum of Sao Paulo, the London National Gallery, and the State Hermitage Museum.


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