Bilbao Fine Arts Museum Acquires a Sofonisba Anguissola

May 7 2021

Image of Bilbao Fine Arts Museum Acquires a Sofonisba Anguissola

Picture: Bilbao Fine Arts Musuem

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Bilbao Fine Arts Museum have announced their acquisition of The Mystical Marriage of Saint Catherine by Sofonisba Anguissola.

According to the museum's press release:

This painting by Sofonisba Anguissola was recently discovered, making it an extraordinary new addition to her small known body of religious works. Signed and dated by Anguissola herself, it is in an outstanding state of conservation and only required a slight intervention to participate in the exhibition A Tale of Two Women Painters: Sofonisba Anguissola and Lavinia Fontana, curated by Leticia Ruiz and held at the Museo del Prado in 2019, the first time the painting was seen in public.


The date of the work, 1588, indicates that it was painted in Genoa, the city where Sofonisba Anguissola lived between 1580 and 1615, when she enjoyed a wealthy lifestyle that enabled her to devote herself fully to painting. This leads us to believe that this was where she directly encountered the work by the same name by Luca Cambiaso—one of the top representatives of the Genoese school—which she faithfully reproduced on the canvas that now joins the collection of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum. The artist may have been interested in this new iconography, which shows a Christ Child grown and very strongly resembling his mother, which humanises his figure and gives him a more important role in the scene.

Here's the write up from La Tribune de l'Art.

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