The Lady Who Paints
Violante Siries Cerroti (1709-1783)
Authors: I. Ciseri, J. Fortune, P. Masse, E. Wicks
Publisher: Pacini Editore, October 2016
Language: English and Italian
Pages: 108 pages, full-color photos
Who was this woman whose self-portrait hangs in the most important art collection in Florence—the Uffizi Gallery—and whose brush recorded the likeness of so many, including European rulers, Tuscan nobles, and Grand Tourists? Famous in her day, but now virtually forgotten, eighteenth-century Florentine painter Violante Siries Cerroti has many stories to tell. The daughter of a prominent French goldsmith who went on to become director of the renowned Galleria dei Lavori in Pietre Dure, Siries was raised in the artistic circles of the Tuscan and French courts. She painted her way through the end of the Medici dynasty and into the Florence of the Austrian Habsburg-Lorraine family. In 1767 Violante Siries Cerroti painted her masterwork, a copy of the altarpiece by Luca Giordano, The Virgin Mary Presents the Christ Child to Santa Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi, in the church in Florence dedicated to this highly revered and local Saint. The restoration of Siries’ altarpiece painted for the sacristy of the same church gave conservators and researchers the opportunity to rescue the artist’s painting and rediscover her life.