Kauffmann, Angelica (1741–1807)

views updated May 21 2018

Kauffmann, Angelica (1741–1807)

Swiss artist who achieved fame and fortune in portraiture and the hitherto male domain of history painting. Name variations: Angelika Kauffman; Maria Angelica Kauffmann; Kauffmann-Zucchi; Kauffman-Z; K.-Z.; A.K.Z. Born Marie Anne Angelica Catherine Kauffmann on October 30, 1741, in Chur (or Coire), capital of Graubünden canton, Switzerland; died on November 5, 1807, in Rome; daughter of Johann Josef Kauffmann (an itinerant painter) and Cléofa Lucin (or Lucci, or Luz) Kauffmann; married "Count Frederick de Horn," in fact an impersonator by the name of Brandt, on November 22, 1767 (legally separated on February 10, 1768); married Antonio Zucchi, on September 8, 1781; children: none.

Began commissioned portraiture in Como, Italy, at age 11 (1752); traveled with father in Italy and France, studying and painting; elected to the Academy of Fine Arts, Florence, and the Academy of St. Clement, Bologna (1762), and the Academy of St. Luke, Rome (1765); accompanied Lady Wentworth to England (1765 or 66); selected as a founding member of The Royal Academy of Art, London (1768); left England (1781), traveled in Europe and elected to the Academy of Fine Arts, Venice; established her last studio in Rome by December 1782.


The Family of the Earl of Gower (National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., 1772); Zeuxis choosing his Models for the Painting of Helen of Troy (Brown University, Providence, R.I., late 1770s); Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, 1785); The Sadness of Telemachus (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1788); Angelica Kauffmann hesitating between the Arts of Music and Painting (Nostell Priory, Yorkshire, c. 1794–96); and many more. Signed work: Angelica Kauffmann (or Kauffman) Pinx.

In casting about for an explanation of Angelica Kauffmann's lasting renown, Lady Victoria Manners and Dr. G.C. Williamson, her English biographers of the early 20th century, ultimately conclude that it is due to the exceptional complementarity between the artist, her works, and the sensibility of her time. Kauffmann was a central figure in the neoclassical movement in art which began in mid-18th-century Europe, and it was she who introduced history painting in the neoclassical style to England. Moreover, Kauffmann's own "prudish prejudices" were in complete accord with those of 18th-century England's middle and upper classes, whose patronage was so important to her early career. "Not one of her works contained anything that could bring the slightest blush to the cheek of a young girl," report Manners and Williamson, and most important, she "never forgot the fact of her own femininity and she never allows us to forget it when we look at her works." So profound was her influence that English artists held to the standards of "ultra-refinement and delicacy" established by Kauffmann for 100 years after her death.

At the same time, Kauffmann's life was in many ways a contradiction of the social prescriptions for 18th-century womanhood. Perhaps because she married painter Antonio Zucchi well after her reputation was established, she retained her maiden name for professional purposes, signing her paintings "Angelica Kauffmann Pinx" all of her life. For personal correspondence, she employed another strategy more common to our time than hers, that of hyphenating her husband's surname or initial to her own.

Furthermore, Kauffmann's relationships with key men in her life were role reversals. From an early age, she supported the households she was a member of, the first including her father and a female cousin, the second her husband and a male cousin. Each man in turn—father, husband, cousin—managed the households and much of the business side of her career. In another "modern" touch, Kauffmann and her husband signed a nuptial agreement protecting each's modest savings and investments from the other. In a time when motherhood as well as domesticity was the destiny of women, she did not have children. Rather, Angelica painted.

She began painting as a child and painted until the final months of her life. From this long and prolific career came hundreds of canvases, dozens of roundels and ovals decorating the homes and furnishings of aristocratic England, and a handful of engravings by her own hand (many of her paintings were engraved by others). She was elected to many of the important art academies of Europe, and was one of two female founding members of the Royal Academy of Art in London. Her work is preserved in nearly all of Europe's important national galleries, and many major U.S. museums hold representative canvases.

Her biographers mark the beginning of Kauffmann's professional career with her 1752 portrait in pastel of Nevroni Cappucino, bishop of Como, Italy. The artist was 11 years old; her sitter a powerful elder whose satisfaction with the likeness generated a flood of commissions for the young portraitist. A German biographer, Frances Gerard, reports that by the age of eight Kauffmann had already taken portraits of "several beautiful ladies and pretty children," but these are not generally viewed as part of her professional work. In any case, the historical evidence is clear that Angelica's painter father, Johann Josef Kauffmann, had recognized and cultivated his daughter's interest and talent from the time she was able to take chalk and crayon in hand, and that before demand for her own work occupied her full time, she assisted her father in his primary vocation—church decoration.

Johann Josef's work had brought the Kauffmann family to Como and in contact with the bishop; Angelica's need for advanced training took them next to Milan. There, by virtue of being the rare female artist in the galleries studying and copying the works of the masters, she attracted the attention of the duke and duchess of Modena (Charlotte-Aglae ). As in Como, a portrait was taken, this one of the duchess, who was delighted with it, and again the elite of the city lined up to be painted by the young artist. For two years, the Kauffmann family mingled with the Milanese nobility and enjoyed their patronage and favors.

Then Angelica's mother Cléofa Kauffmann died, just as Angelica turned 16. Cléofa had been a moderating influence in Angelica's life, to some extent protecting the child prodigy from her father's proud and enthusiastic promotion. Her death initiated a period in which father and daughter traveled widely, cultivating contacts with the rich and powerful. But first they returned to Johann Josef's native village of Schwartzenberg, Germany, which Angelica had never seen. There, daughter assisted father in completing a commission to decorate the parish church. The cardinal bishop, being pleased with their work, invited them to Morsburg where he sat for Angelica for his portrait. Again, other notables in the vicinity followed suit, and soon Kauffmann had earned enough to return with her father to the arts-rich environment of northern Italy.

From then on, Angelica's reputation and earning power increasingly guided their moves. During a second stay in Milan, she painted portraits of many of the family and friends of their host, the Count de Montfort. Here, too, she seriously considered giving up painting for a career in music, for she played clavichord and zither, and had an excellent voice and singing ability. Both a musician suitor and her father urged her toward music, the latter reportedly because he believed the financial rewards would be quicker and greater. Angelica was a popular portraitist, but her commissions were small. However, the Kauffmanns were devout Catholics, and Angelica also sought the counsel of a priest and family friend who advised her that the opera stage was no place for a virtuous young woman. After much indecision, she chose painting, and years later commemorated the moment with one of her best-known canvases, Angelica Kauffmann hesitating between the Arts of Music and Painting (c. 1794–96).

In October 1765, Angelica and her father arrived in Venice, having spent time in Parma, Bologna, Florence, Naples, and Rome. In each city, she studied, painted, and charmed the arts community and its aristocratic patrons. She met the celebrated German art critic Abbé Winckelmann in Rome, won his admiration, secured his portrait in one of her more critically acclaimed efforts, and was deeply influenced by him. Winckelmann was a powerful proponent of the neoclassical style, and he urged Kauffmann toward the allegorical and mythological subjects in classical compositions which she explored in her major canvases.

But in Venice she met Lady Wentworth , wife of the British diplomatic representative, whose influence was more dramatic if less intellectual. Lady Wentworth was engaged in a favorite 18th-century entertainment of the British nobility: doing "the grand tour" of Europe and patronizing artists. She took a liking to and urged Kauffmann to return to London with her, no doubt expecting to enhance her own popularity and reputation by introducing a rising young artist to London society. Angelica accepted, eager to see a new country and to enjoy the patronage of the English who, she had already learned, would pay her more generously for their portraits than the Italians.

Thus Angelica Kauffmann came to introduce history painting in the neoclassical manner to England. But though it might have been history painting which won her selection as a founding member of the Royal Academy of Art, it was primarily portraiture and house decoration which enabled her to bring her father and cousin to England within a few years, and to return to Rome after 16 years with a modest fortune.

Two events during her tenure in England require special attention: her first marriage and her election to the Royal Academy. It is ironic that a woman perceived by so many to be the professional equal of men, who held mutually respectful relationships with so many notable men of her day (Winckelmann, Goethe, Sir Joshua Reynolds, to name a few), and whose relationships with her father and second husband were so clearly role reversals, should also have been so thoroughly deceived and used by a man. But such was, in fact, the case, the man being "Count Frederick de Horn," actually a child-out-of-wedlock and former employee of the real count, using the count's money, jewels and clothing (perhaps stolen, perhaps gifts or pay-offs) to present himself convincingly to London society as the count. How an intelligent, accomplished, cosmopolitan woman should have been susceptible to the poseur is something of a mystery. Certainly many did not immediately question "the count's" identity, but Kauffmann abandoned her usually careful consideration of important decisions. For the first time in her life, she failed to consult her father; indeed, she hid the engagement and marriage from him for a time. Moreover, she was far from inexperienced in matters of romance, for she had had several serious suitors, each of whom she had encouraged for a time without committing herself. In fact, the English painter Nathaniel Dance, who met Kauffmann in Rome, followed her back to England thinking they were engaged. By then, Angelica was apparently involved in a flirtation with England's most celebrated painter of the time, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and she gave Dance the cold shoulder.

Perhaps, indeed, there is a theme that connects Angelica's romantic history with her susceptibility to the pseudo-count and even her success as an artist. That theme is her ambition, for just as she set her professional goals high, she had decided that when she married, she would marry well, into wealth and position. Thus the handsome, seemingly wealthy pseudo-count, who entered her life just as it was becoming clear that the flirtation with Sir Joshua would not lead to marriage, must have appeared to Angelica to be the opportunity of a lifetime. In any case, she succumbed to his mysterious stories of enemies and court intrigues in his homeland (Sweden) that only she could save him from by marrying him quickly and secretly.

Within a month, the deception began to unravel; the "Count de Horn" not only was not a count but, Kauffmann eventually learned, he was already married to a young German girl whom he had abandoned to poverty. Much of the historical record of this incident is incomplete or unclear. Some sources say that the imposter was arrested and released for unknown reasons, others that Angelica was too humiliated to press charges. Whichever, on February 10, 1768, after several months of negotiations, Angelica Kauffmann signed a deed of separation to which his signature (in the name of Brandt) was already affixed, and paid him 300 English pounds to be rid of him. And though the marriage had been bigamous and therefore theologically invalid from the beginning, Kauffmann declined to appeal to Rome for an annulment, apparently out of embarrassment and desire to have the incident forgotten. Thus she did not marry again until 1781, just a few months after Brandt's death.

After Kauffmann's disastrous first marriage, she threw herself into painting as never before, and her friends supplied her with many commissions which helped her recover her lost savings and legal expenses. Later in the same year of her separation from Brandt, she received one of her greatest honors as an artist: selection as a founding member of the Royal Academy of Art. She was one of two women nominated and chosen, the other being Mary Moser (whose career faltered and faded thereafter). And though these two were founding members, the Academy's charter did not in fact allow for the election of women. Thus it was not until the charter was amended almost 200 years later that another woman, Laura Knight , was elected to full membership in 1936.

The Academy's records inform us that from the beginning, Kauffmann was a prolific member, commonly submitting six or more canvases to the annual members exhibition. These were mostly history paintings, many large in scale, which she viewed as her most important work. Some of her most loyal patrons, who continued to commission paintings long after she returned to Italy in 1781, apparently first encountered her work at Academy exhibitions. The value Kauffmann placed on her Academy membership is indicated by the shipments of paintings for the annual membership exhibit which continued to make the journey from Rome to London for many years.

The anachronistic quality of Kauffmann's and Moser's position in the Academy is revealed in a famous painting by Zoffany, The Academicians of the Royal Academy (1772). In the painting, the academicians are assembled for a life-class; the model is a nude male. Zoffany's choice of this scenario highlights the importance of studying the nude to 18th-century art, but women were excluded from the life-class to protect their feminine virtue and sensibility. (It is particularly ironic that one of the most common criticisms leveled by her contemporaries was that Kauffmann's drawing—especially of male figures—was weak.) Thus, while the male academicians study, discuss and sketch from the model, the two female members, Kauffmann and Moser, are represented in the painting only by their framed portraits hanging on the studio wall, interestingly enough, along with other decorative objects.

Art historian Angela Rosenthal argues that Kauffmann responded to Zoffany's painting, rejecting her passive positioning on the wall, in a painting of her own: Zeuxis choosing his Models for the Painting of Helen of Troy (late 1770s). In the painting, Kauffmann placed herself as one of four beautiful women the artist Zeuxis is examining. But while three are arrayed in front of Zeuxis as the objects of his gaze, Angelica the model has stepped past the artist, seized his brushes, and herself gazes back toward him and the model he seems transfixed by. It is a "life-class" in which the woman painter knowingly trespasses and asserts her claim to the profession and all of its tools. As if to underscore this meaning, Zeuxis' waiting canvas within the canvas is signed "Angelica Kauffmann Pinx."

Kauffmann's second marriage, to Antonio Zucchi on the eve of her departure from England, seems to have been one of comfort and stability rather than romance. The demand for Angelica's work completely occupied her time by then, and her aging father was deeply concerned that he be replaced as advisor and manager of her household and career by a respectable husband. With her permission, Johann Josef let it be known that Zucchi's interest in Angelica was welcome and that a request for her hand would be favorably received. So it was done, and in the most proper manner. Zucchi largely set aside his own moderately successful career to support and manage his wife's. One of his lasting contributions was to begin keeping a record of Kauffmann's paintings—subjects, patrons, commissions and gifts—upon their return to Italy in 1781. This Memorandum of Paintings, discovered in the archives of the Academy early in this century, has greatly assisted historians in locating, identifying, and dating her works from mid-career onward. Angelica's personal correspondence suggests that a deep affection developed between them, and that she suffered his

death in 1795 greatly. (He was 15 years her senior.) Like her father, who died within months after Angelica's marriage to Zucchi and their return to Italy, Zucchi had provided for his own successor. About two years before his death, he called Angelica's young cousin, Anton Josef Kauffmann, from Schwartzenberg to Rome and installed him as manager of her household and business affairs.

Angelica Kauffmann's fame and fortune continued to grow and reached their apex in the years following her return to Rome. Commissions from England continued apace, a few of her patrons there ordering pictures regularly once or more per year. The royal family of Naples placed heavy demands upon her time, Queen Maria Carolina (1752–1814, wife of Ferdinand IV, king of Naples) in fact offering her a permanent post as court painter. This Angelica declined, always preferring to preserve her independence, but she was a royally treated guest in Naples for two periods of several months each. During these times, she tutored the royal children and made preliminary sketches for a huge, composite family portrait which she completed, along with several smaller, individual portraits, at her studio in Rome.

Kauffmann's studio became a necessary stop for visiting royalty and nobility from all over Europe. Few left without sitting for sketches for a portrait or ordering a painting on some historical or mythological subject; some waited up to two years for their canvases. In addition, her home was a mecca for the European artists' community. Not only painters visiting Rome, but poets as well, became Angelica's admirers and friends, among them the German poets Goethe and his less well-known peer, Herder.

When Angelica Kauffmann died in 1807, at the age of 66, the local art community, led by the sculptor Canova, organized a huge and glorious funeral for her. According to Gerard, the procession through the streets was "swelled by every one of rank and distinction then in Rome." Two of her paintings with religious subjects flanked the altar of the Church of Sant' Andrea delle Fratte, while a bust of her in Carrara marble by Canova, finished just a month before her death, occupied the center. By her own request, her body was laid next to Zucchi's in a side chapel.

By all accounts, Angelica Kauffmann was not only a skilled painter but an exceedingly charming woman. Her biographers comment repeatedly on her sweetness, her graciousness, her modesty, and provide numerous supporting comments from references to her in published works (poems, reviews, etc.) as well as in the personal correspondence of her friends. Gerard, for example, quotes an unnamed German writer on the friendship between Goethe and Kauffmann: "It was natural that he, the favourite of the Graces, should be, so soon as he came within her spell, attracted by this sweet impersonation of womanly grace." This notion of her presence as a kind of spell, an irresistible paradigm of femininity, is virtually a theme of her life.

To set the stage for her analysis of Kauffmann's Zeuxis choosing his Models …, Angela Rosenthal quotes Angelica Kauffmann's contemporary, the popular novelist Eliza Haywood , from the Female Spectator (1774–76): "and I again repeat it as the most infallible maxim, that whenever we would truly conquer, we must seem to yield." Rosenthal calls Haywood's maxim "masking," the art employed by women intellectuals of presenting challenges to the status quo so thoroughly cloaked in precisely the trappings most pleasing so as to disarm critics and ensure reception of the works. Angelica Kauffmann's life as well as her art would appear to be an example.


Gerard, Frances A. Angelica Kauffmann: A Biography. 2nd ed. NY: Macmillan, 1893.

Manners, Lady Victoria, and Dr. G.C. Williamson. Angelica Kauffmann, R.A.: Her Life and Her Works. London: The Bodley Head, 1924.

National Museum of Women in the Arts. Catalog of the permanent collection. NY: Harry N. Abrams, 1987.

Rosenthal, Angela. "Angelica Kauffman Ma(s)king Claims," in Art History. Vol 15. March 1992, pp. 38–59.

suggested reading:

Adam, Malise Forbes, and Mary Mauchline. "Ut pictura poesis: Angelica Kauffmann's literary sources," in Apollo. Vol. 135. June 1992, pp. 345–349.

Bachmann, Donna G., and Sherry Piland. Women Artists: An Historical, Contemporary and Feminist Bibliography. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1978.

Harris, Ann Sutherland, and Linda Nochlin. Women Artists, 1550-1950. NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976.

Rice, Louise, and Ruth Eisenberg. "Angelica Kauffmann's Uffizi Self-Portrait," in Gazette des Beaux-Arts. Vol. 117. March 1991, pp. 123–126.

Roworth, Wendy Wassyng. "Angelica Kauffman's Memorandum of Paintings," in The Burlington Magazine. Vol. 126. October 1984, pp. 629–630.


The Royal Academy of Art, London, holds some documents, including her Memorandum of Paintings and catalogues of exhibitions she participated in as a member.

Bette J. Kauffman , Associate Professor of Mass Communication at Northeast Louisiana University, Monroe, Louisiana

Kauffmann, Angelica (1741–1807)

views updated May 29 2018


KAUFFMANN, ANGELICA (17411807), Swiss neoclassical painter. The Swiss-born painter was considered a child prodigy, achieving attention for her works as early as age eleven. She was trained by her father, Johann Josef Kauffmann, whose family accompanied him to Italy, where he executed decorative schemes for churches. The Kauffmann family lived in Como, Milan, Parma, Florence, and eventually Rome, where Angelica copied the works of famous Old Masters. These included her richly colored version of Domenichino's Cumaean Sibyl (1763, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.) that was probably purchased by the 4th duke of Gordon, one of her many aristocratic patrons. Others included Catherine the Great of Russia, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria, and John Parker II, Lord Boringdon.

During her first stay in Rome (17651766), Kauffmann became an integral part of the circle of artists that gathered around the German theorist Johann Joachim Winckelmann, who served as librarian to Cardinal Albani. This group, which included Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, Anton Raphael Mengs, Benjamin West, Sir Nathaniel Dance, and Giambattista Piranesi, was instrumental in promoting a neoclassical stylistic approach in art that remained fashionable in both Europe and America well into the nineteenth century. Kauffmann, in fact, was one of the first artists to paint in a neoclassical style and one of few women to gain fame from historical paintings. Her classically inspired historical works include Venus Directing Aeneas and Achates to Carthage (1768, The National Trust, England, Saltram collection); Venus Persuading Helen to Accept the Love of Paris (1790, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia); Zeuxis Selecting Models for His Picture of Helen of Troy (1778, Brown University, Providence, R.I.); and Sappho (1775, John and Mabel Ringling Museum, Sarasota, Florida).

It is believed that Kauffmann used self-portraits in her representations of Helen and Sappho, as well as many more of her historical figures, since they often resemble her. This may be judged by comparing them to her identified self-portraits, such as the one she contributed to the famous de Medici self-portrait collection at the Uffizi (1787, Uffizi Gallery, Florence). Looking much like a classical goddess, Kauffmann wears a white muslin dress, belted just below the bodice. It is secured by a cameo that, according to Louise Rice and Ruth Eisenberg, represents the battle between Minerva and Neptune for control of Athensa battle significantly won by the female goddess. Kauffmann's stylistic approach combines the linearity and order of neoclassicism with a pastel lushness characteristic of the English rococo. This is not surprising since Kauffmann spent from 1766 to 1782 in London, where she was named one of the founding members of the Royal Academy of Art (1768). She painted a portrait of the academy's first director, Sir Joshua Reynolds, in 1767 (The National Trust, England, Saltram collection). Reynolds praised Kauffmann's talent, but there were many who criticized her weak rendering of anatomy. It was difficult for a woman to gain skill in this area because she was generally barred from drawing nude models.

Kauffmann was skillful enough in her historical works to be invited to contribute to the decorative scheme of Somerset House, a building designed by William Chambers to house the Royal Academy. Kauffmann's contribution included four oval compositions entitled Invention, Composition, Design, and Color using iconographic references from Cesare Ripa's Iconologia or Moral Emblems (1611). These works are now located at Burlington House, London. She was also asked to participate in a scheme to decorate the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral, although this was never realized.

Kauffmann had many admirers in both her personal and professional life. Contemporaries praised her beauty, talent, intelligence, and wit. Not surprisingly, she attracted a number of suitors, which included Reynolds, Dance, and the early Romantic painter Henry Fuseli. She rejected the attention of these artists to marry a Swedish rogue named Brandt, who charaded as the Count de Horn. After his death (1767), she married the Italian artist Antonio Zucchi and returned with him to Rome in 1782. There she was an active member of the Academy of St. Luke and maintained a studio that was often visited by fellow artists. These included Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, who visited Kauffmann while in exile after the French Revolution. Kauffmann died in Rome on 5 November 1807. After a magnificent funeral, she was buried in the church of Sant'Andrea delle Fratte. Three years after her death, her good friend Giovanni Gherardo de Rossi published his Vita di Angelica Kauffmann (Life of Angelica Kauffmann), which serves as a major source of information with regard to her life and career.

See also Reynolds, Joshua ; Women and Art.


Primary Source

De Rossi, Giovanni Gherardo. Vita di Angelica Kauffmann, pittrice 17411807. Florence, 1810.

Secondary Sources

Adam, Malise Forbes, and Mauchline, Mary. "Neoclassical Furniture in the Palace of Pavlovsk with Designs after Angelica Kauffmann." Apollo 155, no. 479 (Jan. 2002): 4246.

Gerard, Frances. Angelica Kauffmann. London, 1892.

Manners, Victoria, and G. C. Williamson. Angelica Kauffmann, R. A.: Her Life and Her Works. London, 1924. Reprinted New York, 1976.

Mayer, Dorothy. Angelica Kauffmann R. A. 17411807. Gerrards Cross, U.K., 1972.

Pomeroy, Jordana. "The Uncommon Genius of Angelica Kauffmann." Women in the Arts 15 (Winter 1997): 24.

Rice, Louise, and Ruth Eisenberg. "Angelica Kauffmann's Uffizi Self-Portrait." Gazette des Beaux Arts 117 (March 1991): 123126.

Rosenthal, Angela. Angelika Kauffmann: Bildnismalerei im 18. Jahrhundert. Berlin, 1996.

Roworth, Wendy Wassyng. Angelica Kauffmann: A Continental Artist in Georgian England. London, 1992.

. "Biography, Criticism, Art History: Angelica Kauffmann in Context." In Eighteenth Century Women and the Arts, edited by Frederick M. Keener, pp. 209221. New York and London, 1988.

Kathleen Russo

Kauffmann, Angelica (1741–1807)

views updated May 23 2018

Kauffmann, Angelica (1741–1807)

Swiss artist. Name variations: Angelika Kauffman; Maria Angelica Kauffmann; Kauffmann-Zucchi; Kauffman-Z; K.-Z.; A. K. Z. Born Marie Anne Angelica Catherine Kauffmann, Oct 30, 1741, in Chur (or Coire), capital of Graubünden canton, Switzerland; died Nov 5, 1807, in Rome; dau. of Johann Josef Kauffmann (itinerant painter) and Cléofa Lucin (or Lucci, or Luz) Kauffmann; m. "Count Frederick de Horn," in fact an impersonator by the name of Brandt, Nov 22, 1767 (legally sep. Feb 10, 1768); m. Antonio Zucchi, Sept 8, 1781; children: none.

Achieved fame and fortune in portraiture and the hitherto male domain of history painting; began commissioned portraiture in Como, Italy, at age 11 (1752); traveled with father in Italy and France, studying and painting; elected to Academy of Fine Arts, Florence, Academy of St. Clement, Bologna (1762), and Academy of St. Luke, Rome (1765); accompanied Lady Wentworth to England (1765 or 66); selected as a founding member of Royal Academy of Art, London (1768); left England (1781), traveled in Europe and elected to Academy of Fine Arts, Venice; established last studio in Rome by Dec 1782; was a central figure in neoclassical movement in art which began in mid-18th-century Europe, and it was she who introduced history painting in the neoclassical style to England. Paintings include The Family of the Earl of Gower (National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, 1772), Zeuxis choosing his Models for the Painting of Helen of Troy (Brown University, Providence, RI, late 1770s), Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, 1785), The Sadness of Telemachus (Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, 1788), Angelica Kauffmann hesitating between the Arts of Music and Painting (Nostell Priory, Yorkshire, c. 1794–96), and many more; signed work: Angelica Kauffmann (or Kauffman) Pinx.

See also Frances A. Gerard, Angelica Kauffmann (1893); Lady Victoria Manners and Dr. G.C. Williamson, Angelica Kauffmann, R.A.: Her Life and Her Works (Bodley Head, 1924); and Women in World History.