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Elisabetta Sirani

This insightful volume is the first English-language book to explore the life and legacy of Elisabetta Sirani, one of the most celebrated women artists of seventeenth-century Italy.
Elisabetta Sirani (1638–1665)—painter, printmaker, and teacher—was one of the most innovative and prolific artists of the Bolognese school. The daughter of a painter, she hailed from a city whose university had educated women since the Middle Ages and that celebrated the cult of Saint Catherine of Bologna, who was known for her skill as a painter and illuminator—ideal conditions to encourage the training and patronage of skilled women artists.
Drawing on extensive archival documentation and primary sources, including inventories, sale catalogues, and Sirani’s work diary, this book provides an overview of the brief life, fascinating oeuvre, critical fortune, and cultural legacy of this successful Renaissance painter. Art historian Adelina Modesti vividly describes the society that both inhibited and supported Sirani, examining her influence on students at Bologna’s school for professional women artists as well as her significance in the professionalization of women’s artistic practice during the seventeenth century. Gorgeously illustrated throughout, this book focuses on women’s agency. More specifically, it explores Sirani’s identity as both a woman and an artist, including her professional ambition, self-fashioning, and literary construction as Bologna’s preeminent cultural heroine. Hardcover, 144 pages.

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