Sofonisba Anguissola was an unusual artist. Unusual not only because she was a female artist, but because she was not a daughter of an artist. Most female artists were descended from an artist's lineage. But not Anguissola. Her father encouraged his children to pursue careers in literature, music, and especially painting. He consulted Michelangelo about Sofonisba's artistic talent in 1557, asking for a drawing that she might copy and return it to be critiqued. Michelangelo evidently obliged because Sonfonisba Anguissola's father wrote an enthusiastic letter of thanks. Anguissola was also skilled at miniatures and portraits, an important kind of painting in the 16th centruy. Anguissola painted herself holding a medallion, the border of which spells out her name and home town, Cremona. I really enjoy this piece. It is a self-portrait of Anguissola. I find it remarkable because it is a miniature portrait that shows great detail. From the delicate laces around her neck to the inscription around the medallion. She shows such great detail in the strands of hair and in the folds of the clothing. This is actually the first piece I have ever seen by Anguissola, and it is by far my favorite of her work.
-Carlos Cardona, Art 3 and 5