NELLI, Plautilla
(b. 1523, Firenze, d. 1588, Firenze)


Plautilla (Pulisena) Nelli, Italian painter. Daughter of a painter, Luca Nelli, she entered the convent of Santa Caterina di Siena in Florence in 1537. She studied painting with Fra Paolino, a pupil of Fra Bartolomeo, and executed works, including altarpieces, for her convent and outside patrons. In the Last Supper (Florence, Santa Maria Novella), executed from a cartoon by Agnolo Bronzino and reminiscent of Fra Bartolomeo's restrained early style, the still-life and the starched tablecloth are carefully observed. For the Deposition (Florence, Museo San Marco) she was reputed to have used the corpse of a nun for the figure of Christ. The Adoration of the Magi (Parma, Galleria Nazionale), her own composition, is reminiscent of Andrea del Sarto with its graceful drapery and harmony of light and shade.

Nelli's solemn and undramatic compositions had gone out of fashion by the mid-16th century. She inherited Fra Paolino's important collection of drawings by Fra Bartolomeo and is said to have trained other nuns in painting, including Agata Traballesi and Maria Ruggieri.

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