SOFONISBA ANGUISSOLA’S BERNARDINO CAMPI PAINTING SOFONISBA ANGUISSOLA AND THE IDEAL CORTIGIANA
Italian Renaissance artist Sofonisba Anguissola is well-known for the array of self-portraits she painted during her early career. Through her self-portraits created between 1548 and 1559, Anguissola constructed her identity as a virtuous young noblewoman and skilled artist. The key to Anguissola’s portraiture was her adaptation of the ideas prescribed by humanist Baldassar Castiglione in his famous text The Courtier in order to depict herself as the ideal female courtier. Anguissola’s self-fashioning reached its pinnacle with her 1559 self-portrait Bernardino Campi Painting Sofonisba Anguissola, which was among the last works Anguissola completed before she was invited to join the Spanish court of Philip II as a lady-in-waiting-cum-painter. This thesis examines the means by which Anguissola strategically shaped her identity for a court position in her 1559 portrait. I argue she utilized accepted principles for 16th century noble portraiture and costuming, the secondary figure of her former painting teacher, and courtly wit as described by Castiglione, to portray herself as the ideal noblewoman and to firmly secure her position as the first professional female “noble artist” at court.