The Gallery's first painting by a woman artist of the 17th century
Elisabetta Sirani's painting Virgin and Child (1660) was purchased by the Gallery in late 2021. In this short video, Curator of Italian and Spanish Art, Dr Aoife Brady, talks about Sirani's impactful career as an artist and founder of an art academy for women in Bologna. She also addresses how this painting's acquisition is part of a bigger commitment by the Gallery to increase its holdings of work by women.
Watch a 2-minute video about Elisabetta Sirani
See this painting on display in the Gallery
This painting is on display in Room 26 on level 3 of the Beit Wing in the Gallery.
Read more about Elisabetta Sirani
Elisabetta Sirani (1638–1665) is a central figure in the history of western art. She navigated her career as a professional artist in Bologna without marrying – an arrangement that was necessary for her predecessors (including Lavinia Fontana) to move freely in Italian society. According to 17th-century texts, Elisabetta painted this tender scene of the Virgin and Child for Lorenzo Tinti (1626–1672), a printmaker and a close family friend of the artist. Tinti was also responsible for the official portrait of Elisabetta printed following her death. She had a short but prolific and very impactful career; she died at just 27 years old of suspected poisoning.