A detail from Nelli’s Lamentation with Saints

The Artist who opened the way


A highlight in 2006

How can a sixteenth-century nun directly influence the life of hundreds of modern-day women? Through her art, of course! When AWA’s founder and Chairman Jane Fortune happened upon a book about Suor Plautilla Nelli, she was immediately intrigued by Florence’s first woman artist—who was virtually unknown to modern-day Florentines. When Dr. Fortune first viewed Nelli’s masterwork at the San Marco Museum, she suggested making a contribution to the museum to have the then-lackluster painting cleaned. When woodworms were found to be eating away at Lamentaion with Saints, Dr. Fortune supported a full-scale restoration project and discovered her personal vocation: to research, restore and exhibit art by women in Florence. As she explains today, ”By giving little-known artists a voice in history, I found my own voice.”