GARZONI, Giovanna
(b. 1600, Ascoli Piceno, d. 1670, Roma)


Italian painter, one of the first woman artists to practice the art of still-life painting. She may have begun her training in Ascoli Piceno. In 1625, and again in 1630, she was in Venice, where she wrote a calligraphy book, including capital letters illuminated with fruits, flowers, birds, and insects. These subjects were to become her specialty, and tempera on vellum was her preferred medium.

By the late 1620s she had two influential patrons in Rome: Cassiano dal Pozzo and Anna Colonna, wife of Taddeo Barberini. She went to Naples in 1630, to work for the Duque de Alcalá. However, she spent the next five years in Turin at the court of Charles Emanuel II, Duke of Savoy. She left Turin in 1637, probably for Florence; documents indicate that she was there from 1643. She continued to work for members of the Medici court after finally settling in Rome in 1651. In 1666, Garzoni made a will bequeathing her entire estate to the painters' guild in Rome, the Accademia di San Luca, on condition that they erect her tomb in their church, SS Luca e Martina. She died four years later, after enjoying a life of steady work and constant success. Her tomb was set up in 1698.

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