A child prodigy who copied the masters and painted the powerful, Angelica Kauffman (also spelled Kauffmann; 1741-1807) accompanied her father on a 5-year journey through Milan, Venice, Parma and Naples. Johann Joseph Kauffman was a minor Swiss painter of portraits and frescos. His daughter was an international sensation.
Angelica Maria Anna Katarina Kauffman was a woman of many countries and myriad talents. Switzerland was her motherland and Austria raised her, Italy taught her its charms and England developed them. By age 13 she was receiving professional commissions from dukes and bishops. When she returned to Rome in her later years, the city gathered at her feet - Angelica Kauffman was lovely and larger than life - and the day she died, Rome mourned her as its own. It was the greatest funeral for a painter the city had seen since the death of Raphael. Neoclassic sculptor Antonio Canova directed the lavish event, and the entire Accademia di San Luca, of which she had been a member, paraded the streets in mournful procession.
During her lifetime, the strength of Kauffman's artistic talents served as a bridge between the various countries where she lived and worked, allowing her to achieve noteworthy success in both England and Italy.
...Kauffman's professional success was tinged with personal scandal. Conned into marrying a charlatan who had fraudulently posed as ‘Count de Von Horn of Sweden,' Kauffman risked losing her hard-won reputation. Thanks solely to her connections with Reynolds, her staunchest supporter, she was able to avoid the social stigma of the separation and maintain her standing in eminent social and artistic circles. Only years later, after the would-be count had passed away, was Kauffman free to marry again. In 1781, she wed Venetian painter Antonio Zucchi (1726-1795), who had been working on commissions in England. Their subsequent return to Italy brought about Kauffman's nomination as an honorary member of the Venetian Academy. While in Venice, several outstanding personalities visited her studio, including Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich, the future Russian Emperor Paul I....
...while still in Italy, Kauffman painted a frank self portrait, currently in storage. Palette and brushes in hand, she presents herself in a studio, sitting beside an open box of paints. Kauffman's more idealized self portrait was chosen for exhibition in the Vasari Corridor.