Fabric and Fontana

Fabric and Fontana

This week has included more walking, this time under a clear blue sky in the Parco dei Sassi di Roccamalatina, not far from Bologna.

I’ve also been painting and finding much inspiration from the bold paintings of the hugely talented Lavinia Fontana.

Born in Bologna in 1552 when the prevailing artistic style was what we now call ‘Mannerism’. Lavinia Fontana, like Artemisia Gentileschi, was only able to become a painter because she trained in the studio of her artist father, Prospero. He arranged for her to marry another painter called Gian Paolo Zappi, but she was more talented than either of them. This fact was accepted by her husband who looked after their eleven children and acted as her agent and assistant allowing her to support the family with her painting. 

Women weren’t supposed to paint, especially nudes, but she did. Bologna was a bit more broad-minded than other Italian cities and she went to the university and became a Dottoressa. Looking at her work I’m very glad she persevered.

Here are some favourite details from her paintings.

The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon, detail, 1599, National Gallery of Ireland.

Portrait of Costanza Alidosi, detail, c. 1595, National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Portrait of a Lady wearing a ruff, holding a book in her left hand, detail, Private Collection.

Venus and Mars, detail, c.1595, Casa de Alba Foundation.

Here are some of my recent works.

A Voluptuous Sleeve

Painted in November 23. A sleeve made of sumptuous fabric is pushed up the arm by a Schiele-esque hand. Fast and fresh in its approach, you can almost feel the movement of hand and cloth. 

Acrylic paint on 8mm plywood board

48cm x 40cm

Not in the available works on my website yet, but just let me know if you’d like to buy it.

As soon as I’m back in the UK I’m looking forward to the London Art Week. I have booked what I am sure will be an interesting event at the National Portrait Gallery and will let you know about it.

Warmest wishes


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