Diana Scultori Ghisi: 1547-1612
Born in 1547, one of three daughters Diana Scultori Ghisi, was a well known engraver of the 16th century. Not only is she remembered for her magnificent engravings, she is also recorded as the first woman ever allowed to sell her work under her own name.
Since Diana was a woman she was unable to have formal apprenticeship in drawing. She was taught private lessons by her father, Giovanni Battista Mantuano, to draw and engrave. The Renaissance is the first time period where women artists gained international reputations. Perhaps this growth of art among women was due to cultural shifts, such as a move towards humanism, there were many published art and texts that illustrated this change.
Diana also had the reputation as a keen business woman, after her marriage to Francesco de Volterra, an aspiring architect, the couple moved to Rome to help set off his career. Rome is where Diana approached the papal court with examples of engraved plates, requesting permission to sell her work under her own name. She was granted permission by Pope Gregory XIII to sell her work under two names, Diana Mantuana and Diana Mantovana. Among her works were St Jerome and Christ and the Adulteress.
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