Ormani, Maria (fl. 1453)

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Ormani, Maria (fl. 1453)

Manuscript artist of Florence. Flourished in 1453 in Florence, Italy; never married; no children.

Maria Ormani was an Italian nun and artist. Though her origins are obscure, it is known that she was born in Florence and entered a convent there as a young woman. Ormani showed a great inclination towards the arts, and besides her classical learning she also studied painting. Eventually she became a prominent illustrator of manuscripts at her convent's scriptorium. She was apparently quite proud of her accomplishments, for she signed her work, an unusual occurrence in medieval artwork.

Her name is discovered in a breviary (a collection of hymns and prayers) she illuminated in 1453. Ormani included in the breviary a self-portrait in a nun's habit with a statement proclaiming herself the artist of the work—the image shows an attractive young woman, hands folded in front of her, with her head cocked to one side, gazing out of a decorated border. Little else is known about Ormani's life.


Chadwick, Whitney. Women, Art, and Society. London: Thames & Hudson, 1990.

Laura York , Riverside, California