History Crush: Lavinia Fontana – Ultra Virgo Of the 16th Century

Filed in Virgo, History Crush

Meet Lavinia Fontana – Ultra Virgo of the 16th Century.  I am not going to pretend that i heard of her before now and i am simply going to treat you to these cut/pastes from her Wikipedia which i believe paint a portrait of AWE.

She is regarded as the first woman artist, working within the same sphere as her male counterparts, outside a court or convent.

She was the first woman artist to paint female nudes, and was the main breadwinner of a family of 13.

“Her relationships with female clients were often unusually warm.”

“Her husband took care of the household and served as painting assistant to his wife, including painting minor elements of paintings like draperies”

“Lavinia is known for having produced the largest number of art pieces ever for a woman of the Renaissance.”

Eleven children, a house husband, freelance artist career and all this in the 16th Century.

Image: Lavinia Fontana – Self-Portrait

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22 thoughts on “History Crush: Lavinia Fontana – Ultra Virgo Of the 16th Century

  1. Astounding woman and yet I fail (my fault) to see the Virgoan vibe.
    The fist in many things sound very much a First House persona. I’d say Aries but too many kids and the artistic vibe cuts out that sign.
    And her anticipating trends (working women) and unconventional vibe sounds more like an Aquarius.

    In my experience – so just my 2 cents here – Virgo peeps like to blend in the crowd (a neat and clean and selected crowd, but still a crowd) and most certainly don’t like to stand out and be “prime movers”.

  2. Eleven kids, I’d make my husband a housepet as well. Plus the kids. Maybe that’s how she made her money. Send the offspring out on merchant business each morning? Sorry. Cap moon does a cost-benefit analysis on all aspects of family life, lol.

    • Would be cool if she had patronage though. Some obscure French royalty with a major crush or something 🙂 “Just paint whatever you want, Madame”

      • the wiki sort of implies her husbands family and hers were well off, she had very wealthy patrons who paid a lot for her paintings.
        The interesting thing there also was that she was only outlived by 3 children. Between them serving her and the house hubby she seemed maybe a little bit self centered ? Driven ? Ummmm

        • Hmm, ok, not casting nasturtiums, got it… i get you’re generally an agenda-less aries ,

          what do you mean, ‘know people like this”? you mean, successful, independent thinking, recognition outside the home for their own work?. I just read the wiki article.

          She sounds as successful as any male equivalent, that’s it. despite my bitchy cynicism about the children thing, I’m sticking with the description of her as a successful artist.

          There’s no reference to her kids serving her although I think everyone I know from an enormous family was inevitably allocated family duties according to their age…a high infant and general mortality rate was the go back then – probably a better idea to blame stuff like typhoid, tuberculosis, maternal & infant mortality, wars, tetanus, blood poisoning, mortally injured, the stuff we tend not to die from today.
          ya know.

          • It’s just an impression I get. No basis. Im familiar with a certain type of successful person from wealthy families, they suck it all up and serve no one but themselves. Children parents siblings partners are there to serve their magnificence. As I say, not sure why I get this impression but the lineage seems to stop with her. No one else survived 😉

            • I maintain that your perception of a plutonic factor affecting her kids (3/11) etc is statistically more likely to be straight-up population biology rather than demon-woman not being sweet and kind (you do realise you’re triggering my feminist sensibilities here). we never ever talk about male renaissance artists like this. (because we don’t bother asking if they have a spouse or a family) Having said that I do know the kind of person you’re talking about, m or f, where their dominance over the family dynamics leaves everyone else running for cover to the other side of the world, or at the end of withered family ties and buckled under the persona of a parent/etc who comes to only see others as serfs.

            • i’m feeling (extra) argumentative today and putting it down to the sun and moon applying to natal pluto and eris respectively. I wish the full moon was tonight and not 30 hours away argh. *breathe breathe*

              • Don’t need to explain yourself Pi. You have every right to respond the way you feel. You didn’t come across as argumentative, just making valid points.

  3. I really needed a history lesson like this today, timing impeccable as always, Mystic. Nothing like a fierce woman to inspire you when are in the doldrums. I had never heard of her either, and I had heard of a couple of early female artists like Mary Beele and Gentileschi etc. Nice to meet you Lavinia Fontana, you are still remembered all of these centuries later, you must have been a truly great woman.

    • well put! And yes i am always revived by thinking of how these women did it in such challenging times! I think there is a post on here re Artemesia Gentileschi somewhere too!

  4. I bet she gave amazing life-hacks! People probably wanted to model for her, as, while painting she’d share stain removal tricks and recipies for hair masques.

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