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Lavinia Fontana


FONTANA, LAVINIA (155 Italian portrait painter, was the daughter of Prospero Fontana (q.v.). She was greatly employed by the ladies of Bologna, and, going thence to Rome, painted the likenesses of many illustrious personages. She enjoyed the patronage of the family (Buoncampagni) of Pope Gregory XIII. The Roman ladies, from the days of this pontiff to those of Paul V., elected in i6o5, showed no less favour to Lavinia than their Bolognese sisters had done. In her subject pictures she was not so successful. Examples of her work are to be seen at Bologna, Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan ; the "Virgin lifting a veil from the sleeping infant Christ," in the Escorial, Madrid; and the "Queen of Sheba," a group of the Mantua courts, in the Dublin museum. Two self-portraits are at the Pitti, Florence, and one in the Academy of St. Luke, Rome. Her husband, whose name is given as Paola Zappi Giovanni of Imola, belonged to a distinguished family. He studied painting with Lavinia's father, and is said to have painted the draperies in many of Lavinia's pictures. She was elected into the Academy of Rome, and died in that city in 1614.