Properzia de' Rossi (1490-1530)
Properzia de Rossi (1490-1530) was a successful female Italian Renaissance sculptor. She studied under the Bolognese artist and master engraver Marcantonio Raimondi, who is best known today for his engravings of the paintings by Raphael. Early in her career, Properzia was celebrated for her complex but small-scale sculptures fashioned from stone-fruit pits, such as from apricots, peaches and cherries. The subject of these small "friezes" was often religious, with one of the most famous being a Crucifixion in a peach pit. As she approached her thirties, Rossi began working in large scale. Her marble portrait busts from this period gained her prominence and public commissions, including the decorative program for the high altar of Santa Maria del Baraccano in Bologna. She also won a competition to create sculpture for the west facade of San Petronio in Bologna. Records show that she was paid to create three sibyls, two angels, and a pair of bas-relief panels, including a panel depicting Joseph and Potiphar's Wife. While Rossi won important commissions in her life, she died before reaching forty, bankrupt and without close relatives or friends.
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