Self-Portrait (Sofonisba Anguissola)

Self-Portrait is a small oil on panel painting by Sofonisba Anguissola, signed and dated 1554 on the open book held by the artist.[1][2][3] It is now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.[4]

Sofonisba Anguissola 002.jpg

It was recorded as hanging in Vienna's Belvedere Gallery, already attributed to Anguissola but initially thought to be a portrait of infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia on her betrothal to her cousin Albert VII, Archduke of Austria which had therefore ended up in Vienna.[5][6] Flavio Carioli also came to this conclusion, but in 1885 Adolfo Venturi cited a letter sent to Ercole II d'Este, Duke of Ferrara in March 1556 by Anguissola's father with two paintings by her, a self-portrait intended for the duke's daughter Lucrezia and a Cleopatra (after a drawing by Michelangelo, probably a folio now in the Casa Buonarroti). Venturi also recorded that in 1603-1604 cardinal Alessandro d'Este gave some of his paintings to Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor.[7] Though no inventory of the paintings given to Rudolf survives, Venturi theorises that this self-portrait was one of them and the theory is accepted by all other art historians.[8]


  1. ^ "Sofonisba Anguissola – Smarthistory". Retrieved 2020-06-04.
  2. ^ King, Margaret L.. The Renaissance in Europe. Norway: Laurence King Publishing, 2003. P. 246.
  3. ^ King, Margaret L.. A Short History of the Renaissance in Europe. Canada: University of Toronto Press, 2016. P. 274.
  4. ^ "Selbstbildnis". (in German). Retrieved 2020-06-04.
  5. ^ Liana De Girolami Cheney, Alicia Craig Faxon, Kathleen Lucey Russo, Self-portraits by women painters, Aldershot, Brookfield: Ashgate, 2000, p. 51, SBN IT\ICCU\MIL\0472038.
  6. ^ Joanna Woods-Marsden, Renaissance self-portraiture: the visual construction of identity and the social status of the artist, New Haven - London, Yale University Press, 1998, p.101-103, SBN IT\ICCU\UFI\0310798.
  7. ^ (in Italian) AA VV, Sofonisba Anguissola e le sue sorelle, Milano, Leonardo arte, 1994, SBN IT\ICCU\VEA\0063954, page 11 (catalogue of an exhibition held in Cremona in 1994, Vienna and Washington in 1995.
  8. ^ AA VV, Italian women artists from Renaissance to Baroque, Milano, Skira, 2007, SBN IT\ICCU\VEA\0702687, page 110