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 51286Z9V0MLOn the 24th of August 1552, Italian painter Lavinia Fontana was born in Bologna. She is considered the first ever woman artist to work within the same sphere as her male counterparts, independently and outside a royal court or convent. “The most significant and prolific female artist of the 16th century, Lavinia Fontana opened up opportunities for successive generations of women artists throughout Europe. Like most of her counterparts, she received her initial training from her father, Prospero Fontana, a painter who had studied under the Mannerist Florentine artist and writer Giorgio Vasari. She was his only surviving child. Encouraged by her father to develop her artistic potential, early in her career she received both public and private commissions in Bologna. He arranged an introduction to a nobleman and artist from Imola, Gian Paolo de’ Zappi, and then arranged their marriage in 1577. Although both Zappi and Fontana…

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