Sofonisba and her Portrait of Philip II, King of Spain

On this day, October 21st, in 1561, Sofonisba sent her regrets to Bernardino Campi, “Molto Magnifico Signor Bernardino,” her first trainer, explaining that she could not yet send him a portrait of the king. “Non posso al presente servirlo, come saria mio desiderio.” She was occupied painting the king’s sister Juana and Queen Isabel. In addition, she was busy with the queen who was eager to learn, “vuol gran parte del tempo per lei per dipingere.” Cremona Catalogue, (1994, p 89). 

These events are reflected in Part II of Lady in Ermine (1560-1572).

Looking forward to the Sofonisba exhibit at the Prado Museum in Madrid opening October 22, 2019.

Sofonisba and King Philip II at the Prado Museum

Philip II King of Spain was fond of Sofonisba and admired her work, praising her in words and gold.

In the final days of 1579, Sofonisba married Orazio Lomellini, a ship captain from a prominent Genoan family, without obtaining the consent of her family. Even though her marriage to Orazio began as a quasi-elopement, King Philip II commemorated it by sending Sofonisba a wedding present, yet another lifetime pension, along with a letter acknowledging her industry, ingenuity and devotion to his family. 

“industiae, ingenij et sedulitatis a devota nobis sincera dilecta Sofonisba una ex pedissequis serenissimae quondam reginae Isabelli uxoris nostre carissime prestitare colentes cui ob virtutes proprias et ingenij dotes fuit acceptissima nec non come matrimonij nuper ab ea cum devoto nobis dilecto Horatio Lomellini…”(Cremona Catalogue, 388)

I’m looking forward to viewing Sofonisba’s Portrait of Philip II next week (at the Prado Museum exhibit honoring the work of Sofonisba Anguissola and Lavinia Fontana) and experience how Sofonisba captured the king’s eyes.