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Typical iconography of theme of Annunciation

Plautilla Nelli’s ANNUNCIATION

Nelli could only be a painter because she was a nun—the only way for women to get art commissions. Nelli was a true Renaissance woman though she violated many gender norms of her day by becoming a painter. Even though Nelli was not a cloistered nun for most of her life and could move outside the convent, she did not have the option to take her sketchbook out into the city streets and follow interesting types to draw as Leonardo did. Nelli identified herself as a painter both with signatures on some of her paintings as well as on convent rosters. Next to her name on these rosters are listed ”pittora” (painter) and ”madre pittora” (painter in charge of convent art workshop) next to her name. Her Last Supper follows Fra Bartolomeo’s tradition: ‘Pray for the Paintress’ she wrote next to her signature: Orate pro Pictora!

A ‘new’ Nelli painting at the ‘old’ Palace

A new ‘Annunciation’ painting at Palazzo Vecchio has been attributed to Nelli.

Questions surround Nelli’s ‘twin works’

Did Nelli use same drawing for her ‘twin’ Annunciation paintings?

Detective work from the ‘flip side’ of history

Called “virtuosa” by her contemporaries, Nelli possessed great technical ability.

By giving a voice to historic
women artists AWA rescues
and reclaims the ‘hidden half’
of Florence’s art.

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