Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Elisabetta Sirani and Cleopatra

'Cleopatra' (c. 1662-3) by Elisabetta Sirani; Private Collection

For today I have chosen another Italian painter but this time a female one, Elisabetta Sirani, born on 8 January 1638 and died on 28 August 1665 (the Italian page says 28, the English one mentions the 25th as the date of death). Sirani's father was Giovanni Andrea Sirani who had been the personal assistant of the artist Guido Reni. There's little known of Elisabetta's training but as a woman she would not have had access to any academy and was probably her father's pupil. Her style is close to Reni's, idealised but with strong colours and chiaroscuro. She painted portraits, religious themes and allegories and worked very fast. By the time she died, at 27, she had completed approximately 170 paintings, 14 etchings and also a number of drawings. She was buried in Guido Reni's tomb.

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