I present for your viewing pleasure Sofonisba Anguissola, a female painter of the Italian High Renaissance. Her family was peculiar in the fact that all of the daughters (6 of them) received humanist education and all pursued their own interests. While some of them eventually married and dropped what they were doing, Sofonisba pressed on, even after marriage (in fact, her husband was purportedly supportive of her painting). She was so talented that even Michelangelo and Vasari were forced to admit her skill. Visari said of her work, “[she] has shown greater application and better grace than any other woman of our age in her endeavors at drawing; she has thus succeeded not only in drawing, coloring and painting from nature, and copying excellently from others, but by herself has created rare and very beautiful paintings.”
This woman, at a tremendous disadvantage learning human anatomy because of the times and her sex, and living in a time where women were generally dismissed, made one of the greatest artists in the world and the first art historian acknowledge her skill. This lady kicked some serious ass and she’s definitely one of my history crushes.