23.4 x 15.5 cm. iv, 192 pp. + 15 colour illus, and 24pp. b/w illus.
Angelica Kauffmann (1741-1807) was considered by her contemporaries to be one of the greatest and most influential artists of her time, but since then her reputation has fluctuated. With the present revival of interest in the neo-classical era, Angelica is now regaining her true position in the opinions of the critics and art historians. This fact was underlined by the great exhibition of her work at Bregenz in 1968 and by the appearance of several of her works in the 1972 Burlington House exhibition which has the neo-classical as its theme. As one of the foremost writers in the Bregenz catalogue, Anthony M. Clarke, has written to the author of this work, ‘Angelica Kauffmann’s best paintings are of a lasting greatness and value’.
Dorothy Moulton Mayer’s previous biographies of Louise of Savoy and Marie Antoinette have well fitted her to write about this artist. Only a woman can really appreciate the difficulties under which Angelica laboured, in spite of her success, and the author has written a biography which shows her to be in full sympathy with her subject.
Angelica Kauffmann destroyed most of her papers before she died and relatively little is known about her, but Lady Mayer has successfully recreated the atmosphere and background in which Angelica lived. She takes us through the years from Angelica’s birth from her journey to and success in England, her tragic first marriage and her happier second one, her move to Rome, her friendship with Goethe and her experiences during the French revolutionary and Napoleonic wars during which she died in 1807.
This new biography, with many pages of illustrations in colour and black and white, is a timely reminder of Angelica Kauffmann’s greatness and her extremely important position in the neo-classical era.