Angelica Kauffmann's Most Famous Paintings

Angelica Kauffmann's Most Famous Paintings

Maria Anna Angelika Kauffmann, generally referred to in English as Angelica Kauffman, was a Swiss Neoclassical painter who had an influential profession in London and Rome. In 1768, she was one of two female establishing members of the Royal Academy in London. 

Who was Maria Anna Angelika Kauffman?

A Swiss Neoclassical painter, Maria Anna Angelika Kauffman (born October 30, 1741, died November 5, 1807). Angelica Kauffman, who was known as Angelica in England, was a successful historical painter in London and Rome in the 18th century. 

Self Portrait, the Artist Hesitating Between the Arts of Music and Painting by Angelica Kauffmann 

Self-portrait of the Artist hesitating between the Arts of Music and Painting

This painting presents the artist picking between her calling as a painter, which was customarily a male-ruled field (the figure of the painting focuses on a faraway sanctuary, symbolizing the trouble of her excursion). Kauffman was choosing what she needed to do with her life, she was conflicted between her two interests, art, and music.

She was so distressed at the trouble of the choice that she went with her dad to counsel a minister in their home in Milan, who disclosed to her that while music would offer quick and simple prizes, it would be too diverting from her true passion, which is art. So we have that cleric to thank for the earth-shattering artist that is Angelica Kauffmann.

The painting is, in reality, quite earth-shattering as a women's activist work of art. The fact that Kauffmann could choose her own life path was a completely novel concept for women at the time.

The painting's allegory made the writer Friedrich Von Matthisson compare her masterpiece with Hercules at the Crossroads Between Virtue and Vice painted by Annibale Carraci (1765). Her self-portrait was described by Professor Waltraud Maierhofer as "unprecedented in the history of art".

Rinaldo and Armida Story by Angelica Kauffmann 

Rinaldo and Armida Painting

The story behind this painting is that Rinaldo was secretly pursued by Armida who intended to murder him with a dagger. Rinaldo rested near the "ford of the Orontes" and took off his helmet. He noticed Armida swimming and went to see her and discovered that she was naked. She sang to him and lured him into a deep sleep so that she can stab him with a dagger.

When Armida was about to stab Rinaldo she had a change of heart because she was actually in love with him. Rather than killing him, she further enchanted him, then abducted him and put him on a chariot, and took him to an island, where Rinaldo fell in love with her and he forgot about the crusade.

Ariadne Abandoned - Theseus by Angelica Kauffmann 

Ariadne Abandoned by Theseus Painting

This painting depicts the myth of Ariadne the daughter of the King of Crete. She fell in love with Theseus, and using a ball of wool she helped him escape from the Labyrinth of the Minotaur. Theseus promised to marry her but he returned to Athens instead. In the painting, Ariadne wakes up only to realize that Theseus had betrayed her.

The setting of the painting tells us that Ariadne is sitting on a rocky shore while looking at the open sea and looking desperately at Theseus ship disappearing in the distance.

She is depicted to be wearing a white chemise covered with a green cape. Her legs are covered by a red cloth. Her hair is braided and tied firmly. Her breasts are slightly exposed while both of her hands are raised up to express her sorrow.

The artist delineated the sensational occasion utilizing solid brush strokes and broken colors. The streaming hair and hastily broadened arms are methods for articulation, by applying which, like in her different paintings, she portrayed an incredible enthusiasm.

Angelica Kauffman's artistic presentation showed a hopeless moment of the myth. The desperation that Ariadne felt and realizing that nobody can relieve her of the feeling of being abandoned. Angelica Kauffman's artistic depiction of Ariadne's strong emotions of being betrayed gained international recognition and continues to baffle onlookers for generations.

Telemachus and the Nymphs of Calypso by Angelica Kauffmann

Telemachus and the Nymphs of Calypso Painting

The first of two paintings for Monsignor Onorato Caetani. The scene in the painting was depicted from the French Novel The Adventures of Telemachus published by Francois Fenelon in 1699.

The composition shows the arrival of Telemachus on Calypso's island. The nymphs welcome them with fruit, flowers, and wine. Athena is disguised as the old man, The Mentor.

The Sorrow of Telemachus by Angelica Kauffmann

The Sorrow of Telemachus Painting by Angelica Kauffman 

The painting was painted as a second installment for Monsignor Onorato Caetani it depicts a scene from the novel The Adventure of Telemachus.

The painting reveals Telemachu's adventures after he was shipwrecked and was washed up on the island of Ogygia. On the scene, they were surrounded by nymphs. Calypso stopped the nymphs from singing about Ulysses whom Telemachus has not seen for several years. Telemachus was seen as being sorrowful because he was reminded of his father's absence.

Self Portrait Aged Thirteen by Angelica Kauffman

Self Portrait Aged Thirteen Painting by Angelica Kauffman

At the tender age of thirteen, Angelica Kauffman showed the world how talented she was. At that time she was considering a career in music. Her palette of cold pink and pastel blue is suggestive of prior eighteenth-century Rococo paintings. In reality, Kauffman, by this age was at that point knowledgeable in art history and had frequented art exhibitions with her compelling artist father.

Nevertheless, she proudly showcased her artistic skills and paved her way. During this time Angelica Kauffman was already well-versed in the history of arts and visited frequently art galleries. She was heavily influenced by her father who was during that time an accomplished artist.

Curiously, at age fifty she came back to this exact same subject, reviewing the scene in her childhood when she had asked a cleric whether she ought to follow art or music as her calling. Incredibly, Kauffman (through self-portraiture) had effectively revealed the significant subject that would get one of the focal leitmotifs in twentieth-century art.

Portrait of a Lady by Angelica Kauffmann

Portrait of a Lady Painting by Angelica Kauffman

It's debated if the lady in the portrait was the historian Catherine Macaulay or the writer Elizabeth Montagu. Who were both female intellectuals of their era. In the painting, the lady was painted holding a book and a writing instrument that subtlety tells the observer that Angelica Kauffman valued and supported women's education.

Kauffman depicts The Lady with confidence along with the statue of the Roman goddess of wisdom, Minerva next to her. The obscure female sitter inclines toward a plinth which structures part of a section etched in the neoclassical style.

On the table, to one side of the ready and stately lady, there is a statue of the Roman goddess of intelligence, Minerva. On the left-hand side of the portrait, there is a table with cut and enlivening lion's feet. This kind of furniture is characteristic of the mainstream style generally seen over the entirety of the arts in Europe all through the eighteenth century.

Laura Pulteney, 1st Countess of Bath by Angelica Kauffmann

Laura Pulteney, 1st Countess of Bath

In this artwork, Kauffman painted a picture of a young girl who is about 11 years old. Angelica Kauffman showcases her subject's emotions and captures the still moments. Her versatility in portraying the movement and close facial expression of Laura Pulteney is marvelous.

The graceful act exhibited by the Countess, coupled with varying degrees of hues and lights provides a very intense natural background. The more you observe the painting, the more the painting comes to life.

Angelica Kauffman had much in common with Henrietta Pulteney. She could relate to Pulteney's upbringing as she had enjoyed unrestricted education from her supportive parents.

Zeuxis Selecting Models for Helen of Troy by Angelica Kauffmann

Zeuxis Selecting Models for Helen of Troy

The painting depicts the artist Zeuxis who is selecting models for his masterpiece artwork: Helen of Troy. She is said to be one of the most beautiful and iconic figures in Greek mythology.

Zeuxis is carefully studying the physical features of the models. The fifth model in the painting is thought to portray Kauffman as they have very similar physical features. 

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