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Self Portrait by Angelica Kauffman / Angelika Kauffmann 1781, Austria
Notes from WIKIPEDIA

"[Angelica Kauffman] was born at Chur in Graubünden, Switzerland, but grew up in Schwarzenberg in Vorarlberg/Austria where her family originated. Her father, Joseph Johann Kauffman, was a relatively poor man but a skilled painter, who was often traveling for his work. It was he who taught his precocious daughter. Angelica rapidly acquired several languages from her mother, Cleophea Lutz, read incessantly and showed talent as a musician, but her greatest progress was in painting, and by her twelfth year she had become a notability, with bishops and nobles for her sitters.

"In 1754 her father took her to Milan. Later visits to Italy of long duration followed. In 1763 she visited Rome, returning again in 1764. From Rome she passed to Bologna and Venice, everywhere feted for her talents and charm. Writing from Rome in August 1764 to his friend Franke, Winckelmann refers to her popularity. (She was then painting his picture, a half-length; of which she also made an etching.) She spoke Italian as well as German, he says, and expressed herself with facility in French and English - one result of the last-named accomplishment being that she became a popular portraitist for British visitors to Rome. “She may be styled beautiful,” he adds, “and in singing may vie with our best virtuosi.” Years in Britain."

Notes from
by Roy Bolton, et al

"Kauffmann was initioally tutored by her father, Joseph Johann Kauffmann (1707-1782), a painter of portraits and ecclesiastical murals, and grew up assisting him with commissions in Switzerland, Austria and Northern Italy. In 1762, they arrived in Florence, where Kauffmann was introduced to early neo-Classicism, such as the American artists Benjamin West (1738-1820). In 1763, she travelled to Rome and then briefly to Naples before returning to Rome, where she painted portraits and studied Classical sculpture. At the same time she ventured into history painting, a prestigious branch of art that had long been closed to women. Three years later, Kauffmann travelled to London, where she associated more closely with the neo-Classicists and rapidly became acknowledged as a leading artist of her day."

Self Portrait of Angelica Kauffman, 1770s
Self Portrait, 1770s
by Angelica Kauffman
Notes from
ed. by Delia Gaze

"While Kauffman produced many types of art, she identified herself primarily as a history painter, an unusual designation for a woman artist in the 18th century when portraiture and flower painting were still considered more appropriate for women. History painting, as defined in academic art theory, was classified as the most elevated category, its subject matter, the representation of human actions based on themes from history, mythology, literature and scripture, required extensive learning in biblical and Classical literature, knowledge of art theory and a practical training that included the study of anatomy form the male nude. Most women were denied access to such training, especially the opportunity to draw from nude models, yet Kauffman managed to cross the gender boundary to acquire the necessary skills to build a reputation as a successful history painter who was admired by colleagues and eagerly sought by patrons."

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