Elisabetta Sirani (Bologna 1638-1665)
From the Collection of Jean Bonna
Elisabetta Sirani (Bologna 1638-1665)


Elisabetta Sirani (Bologna 1638-1665)
black and red chalk
9 x 6 1/8 in. (22.9 x 15.5 cm)
Alessandro Maggiori (1764-1834), Bologna, his inscription 'La Sirani fece' (L. 3005b).
Anonymous sale; Sotheby’s, Milan, 23 June 1998, lot 880.
with Thomas Williams Fine Art, London (Old Master Drawings, 1999, no. 21).
B. Bohn, 'Female self-portraiture in early modern Bologna', Renaissance Studies, XVIII, 2004, no. 2, p, 259, fig. 13.
B. Bohn, 'Elisabetta Sirani and Drawing Practices in Early Modern Bologna', Master Drawings, XLII, 2004, no. 3, p. 225, fig. 40.
N. Strasser, Dessins italiens de la Renaissance au siècle des Lumières. Collection Jean Bonna, Geneva, 2010, no. 100, ill.
B. Bohn, Women Artists, Their Patrons, and Their Publics in Early Modern Bologna, Pennsylvania State University, forthcoming (2021), fig. 117.
Paris, École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Suite française. Dessins de la collection Jean Bonna, 2006, no. 26.
Geneva, Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Le Choix d'un regard. Dessins de la collection Jean Bonna, 2006.
Washington, D.C., National Museum of Women in the Arts, Italian Women Artists from Renaissance to Baroque, 2007, no. 62 (cat. by V. Fortunati Pietrantonio, J. Pomeroy and C. Strinati).
Sale room notice
Please note additional provenance:
Sotheby’s, Milan, 23 June 1998, lot 880.

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Lot Essay

First trained by her father, Giovanni Andrea Sirani, Elisabetta's draftsmanship is much indebted to Guido Reni's style and techniques, as attested clearly in this penetrating self portrait, executed when she was about twenty years old. Babette Bohn dates the drawing to ca. 1658, based on the artist’s features and the Reni-like character of her early chalk drawings. This sheet therefore pre-dates of about five years the Self-portrait of the artist painting her father in the Hermitage and painted ca. 1665. We are grateful to Babette Bohn for her assistance in cataloguing the present work and for confirming the attribution of the drawing after direct inspection.

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