Athena is such a badass.
Women of the Italian Renaissance | SOFONISBA ANGUISSOLA (c.1532-1625)
Sofonisba Anguissola was one of the first great female painters of the Renaissance, praised by her contemporaries not only for her technical competence, but for her ability to imbue her subjects with lifelike qualities. Giorgio Vasari described her portraits as “executed so well that they appear to be breathing and absolutely alive”, “lacking nothing except speech”, while another biographer called her “a musician, writer and above all an exceptionally fine painter” — a true Renaissance woman.
Sofonisba was born in Cremona, Lombardy, into a noble family that had fallen on difficult financial times. Despite his monetary troubles, her father Amilcare saw to it that Sofonisba, her brother and five sisters all received a respectable humanist education as well as training in music and painting. During her teenage years, Sofonisba studied under the tutelage of local painters Bernardino Campi and Bernardino Gatti. Her father eagerly promoted her talents throughout her early career, and at one stage arranged for the legendary Michelangelo to be shown one of her drawings, a picture of a laughing child. The great artist admitted that she had talent, but added that a crying child would make a more difficult subject. Sofonisba took it as a challenge, and responded with a drawing of her younger brother crying out in pain after being bitten by a crab.
Although talented, Sofonisba was limited by her sex: as a woman, she was not permitted to study anatomy or draw from life, which prevented her from undertaking the more complex, multi-figure religious and historical paintings that were considered the pinnacle of the art form. Instead, she worked creatively with what she had, painting numerous self-portraits and experimenting with more informal, intimate styles of portraiture: her early paintings of her siblings depict her brother and sisters not as tiny adults sitting for a formal portrait, but as children, laughing, playing and joking. Her most famous painting, which features three of her sisters, notably eschews traditionally feminine props such as needlework or prayerbooks, instead depicting the girls engaged in the intellectual game of chess.
As her reputation spread, Sofonisba came to the attention of King Philip II of Spain, who in 1559 invited her to join his court as a lady-in-waiting and painting instructor to his new bride, Elisabeth of Valois. During her time in Spain, Sofonisba painted numerous portraits of Philip, Elisabeth and their family. Around 1571, Philip arranged for Sofonisba to marry the Sicilian Fabrizio de Moncada, providing her with a very respectable dowry. She was widowed several years later in 1579, after which she returned to Cremona, and on the sea voyage home fell in love with the ship’s captain, a Genoese nobleman by the name of Orazio Lomellino. They were married the following January.
By 1584, Sofonisba and Orazio were happily established in Genoa. Here, she continued to paint and became an important salonniere, playing host to various artists and literary figures. She painted her final self-portrait in 1620, aged 88, before her failing eyesight got the better of her. But it seems that even in her final years her mind remained as sharp as ever: after the portraitist Anthony van Dyck visited her in 1623, he wrote admiringly of her considerable memory and wit.
She died in 1625, aged 93. Seven years later, on what would have been her hundredth birthday, her husband placed an inscription on her tomb.
To Sofonisba, my wife, who is recorded among the illustrious women of the world, outstanding in portraying the images of man. Orazio Lomellino, in sorrow for the loss of his great love, in 1632, dedicated this little tribute to such a great woman.
fuckity fuck fuck fuck.
This means that, come August? The number of DC titles I’m following will be down to two.
WHY DO YOU RUIN ALL THE NICE THINGS, DC?! ;___;
venditti claimed that ex used “she” because using male pronouns would be a “death sentence” because the amazons already wanted to kill him. i wonder what his petty excuse for vandal using the incorrect pronouns, “someone might overhear”? pathetic.
Yeah, I find that a little hard to buy, given that he’s consistently referred to Ystin as “she” regardless of who’s speaking or who’s present at the time. His reaction to being called out on it did bother me; he really didn’t seem to understand why it was a problem.
Oh Jesus, I’m so glad I’m not reading this :/
I really, really hope Venditti can pick up his game because Demon Knights is one of the few good things to come out of the New 52. Cornell put together this really fantastic, diverse group of new and old characters and he gave them all unique voices and motivations. And it kind of feels like that’s been lost somewhat since Venditti’s taken over. He’s introduced some reasonable plot points, and there have been a few fun little character moments, but it’s no longer particularly character-driven. Exoristos’ return to Themyscira should have been a whole story in itself, a chance to explore her character and to force her to face the demons of her past. Instead, we got some fight scenes and a “gee, thanks for saving us from those vampires, I guess you’re un-exiled now”.
And, yeah, the fact that he chose to explicitly refer to Azzarello’s… horrible, horrible new Wonder Woman backstory — and the fact that he’s still failing at Ystin’s pronouns — really doesn’t help matters. :(
Uggghh, I know the Amazons-are-rapists thing is (unfortunately) canon in the New 52, but I really, really wish Venditti wouldn’t engage with it. Not necessary. Don’t want to know.
(Incidentally, and I know I’ve been slow to pick up on this, but… the New 52 Amazons are still immortal. Which… kind of doesn’t make sense, in the context of Azzarello’s new backstory, where it’s implied that they’re preying on sailors to ensure the continuation of their tribe. Which is not necessary if they literally cannot grow old or die.)
I feel like Venditti’s wasted the Amazons in this story arc. When Cornell introduced Ex, he hinted at something big in her past. Something big and ugly enough to have caused her to be banished from her homeland, cast out by her own people and ordered never to return. A shame that led her to deny even her own name, introducing herself only as “Exoristos” — the exile. But all Venditti’s given us is, “What the fuck, asshole? We exiled you! Oh, you saved us from being vampirised, never mind. Exile rescinded. Come back any time. In fact, here, have this sweet ship.”
He’s even got all the Amazons calling her Exoristos as though it’s her given name rather than a pseudonym that, realistically, none of them ought to even know because she adopted it after they voted her off the island.
Also: can Venditti fucking stop having Ystin’s loved ones refer to him as “she” already? He’s clearly expressed his preference for male pronouns. For someone like Ex to use female pronouns is both demeaning and out-of-character. Urgh.
I am failing so hard at life right now, I don’t even.
I inch forward one step, stumble back two. Rinse, repeat. How am I supposed to begin to tackle the big things like finding a job when I can’t even do the small things right?
(OR: Why I waste time in a meaningless field; why I want to spend my life looking at old dusty letters and books; why I care about people who are dead and gone; why this even matters.)
I study history because I love humanity.
I study history because it encompasses the entire realm of human thought and deed.
History is a coded map of the human heart; it is a record of hopes & dreams of the great and the small. History is the ambitions of humans on their knees — in the mosques, the cathedrals, the temples; on the plantations; in the trenches. History is the hopes of the humans looking ahead — at the horizon, up to the stars, towards the future.
History is the action of firing a gun or swinging a sword; the action of love (making it, keeping it, using it, stealing it, forgetting it, leaving it).
History is a Mozart symphony, a Wagnerian opera, a gamelan orchestra, and the rhythm of the military march.
History is culture, literature, philosophy; history is the smallest bedtime prayer whispered by the smallest child. It is a quest — to slay the dragon, to reclaim the Holy Land, to surpass all boundaries.
History is neither good nor evil, but it is the sum of good and evil things. It is the wheel of time, the moving hands of a clock, and the timeless hush of an old library. History is in the museums but also in destruction of museums.
And the work of a historian is not a dead job. It is not all dust and old books, faded parchment and endless, meaningless letters. It is not mummification — rather, it is the resurrection and immortalization of past lives, past hopes and fears and dreams.
The historian does not worship the past, but instead brings it into the present — refreshes it, remembers it, and, most importantly, learns from it. The historian knows that history is a tool, and knowledge of history is both an honor and a powerful weapon in the right (or wrong) hands.
Most of all, the historian knows that history is not only the past — it is the future.
Date night Li’l Gotham style