CACCIA, Orsola Maddalena
(b. 1596, Moncalvo, d. 1676, Moncalvo)


Italian painter. She was born Theodora Caccia in 1596 to the painter Guglielmo Caccia (1568-1625, also known as Il Moncalvo). In 1620 her name changed to Orsola Maddalena when she took her vows at the Convento delle Orsoline in Bianzè, Italy, a small municipality in the northern region of Piedmont. Five years later she moved to the Ursuline convent founded by her father in Moncalvo, the town in which she was born.

Orsola began her career as a painter by serving as her father's assistant. In her early career Orsola learned how to paint through providing the colouring and depiction of secondary figures in her father's paintings. Out of her five sisters and two brothers, Orsola and Francesca (who died young), were the only two who became painters. Guglielmo placed all six of his daughters in the convent that he founded. Orsola became Abbess of the Ursuline convent and assisted in organizing a painting studio within the convent during her lifetime. In the maturity of her painting career, Orsola had students and assistants of her own.

The paintings that have been attributed to Caccia range from still-lifes of flowers to devotional images and altarpieces.

Many of her religious paintings can still be found in the small towns for which they were commissioned. These commissions were a means of earning money for the convent, making painting a valuable skill.

She can be identified in her paintings by a signature of a flower.

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