Suor Isabella Piccini

Fatinellus de Fatinellis (1627–1719).
Vita beatae Zitae virginis Lucensis, ex vetustissimo codice
m.s. fidelitèr transumpta
Ferrara: Typographia Filoniana, 1688. (BRB1137)

Elisabetta Piccini (1644–1734) was the daughter of the Venetian engraver Giacomo Piccini (d. 1669), who trained her in the art of drawing and engraving in the styles of the great masters, particularly Titian and Peter Paul Rubens. In 1666 she entered the Convent of Santa Croce in Venice and took the name Suor (Sister) Isabella. She continued to work as an engraver, accepting numerous commissions from Venetian publishers to illustrate liturgical books, biographies of saints, and prayer manuals. However, as a Franciscan nun dedicated to a life of poverty, she divided her earnings between her convent and her family living in Venice. Her long and productive career ended with her death at the age of ninety.

In the exhibited 1688 biography of the Blessed Zita of Lucca, who in 1696 would be canonized as a saint, the artist signed the frontispiece engraving (in translation) “Sister Isabella Piccini, Franciscan nun of Santa Croce in Venice, engraved this.”

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