Angelica Kauffmann was born as the daughter of the painter Joseph Kauffmann in Chur in 1741. Her father accepted during the following years several appointments in Switzerland and Upper Italy. Already at the age of six, Angelica helped him and attracted attention with her talent.
In 1762, father and daughter left for Rome. On their way, they visited galleries in Milan, Bologna, Parma and Florence, where Angelica Kauffmann copied works by Italian masters. In Rome, the artist met with J.J. Winckelmann, who gave her an understanding of the art of the ancient world. Further, Angelica Kauffmann got acquainted with Lady Wentworth and followed her to London in 1966.
The following 15 years, which are spent in London, she celebrated her largest social and artistic successes. She received several orders from the royal court and other nobility and was accepted at the newly founded Royal Academy in 1768. In 1781, Angelica Kauffmann married the Venetian painter Francesco Zucchi and settled in Venice. Soon, they moved to Rome and bought the house of the painter Anton Raphael Mengs. In Rome, a splendid social life developed around Angelica Kauffmann. Several foreign guests, among which were the Duchesses Amalie von Weimar and Luise von Anhalt-Dessau, Emperor Joseph II., crown prince Ludwig von Bayern, Goethe, Herder, Tischbein and the painter Philipp Hacker payed her a visit. Goethe called her in a letter to Weimar "die .... vielleicht kultivierteste Frau Europas" ["the most accomplished woman in Europe"].
After her husbands death in 1795, Angelica Kauffmann barely left her hometown. She died in 1807 in Rome.
Her work consists of several history paintings, altarpieces and portraits. Among her favoured motifs are also motifs from contemporary poetry and rococo-like genre scenes. She gained the friendship of the most famous poets, scientists and artists of her time with her outstanding literacy and her gracefulness and became the most famous female painter of the 18th century.
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