Anguissola was not alone in receiving such critical praise; favorable mentions of celebrated women artists appear in civic histories dating throughout the seventeenth century.
The artist-architect-diarist Giorgio Vasari wrote descriptively about the sculptor Properzia de’Rossi (1490-1530) and the painters Plautilla Nelli (1523-1588) and Anguissola in his first published in 1550.
The work perfectly captures a child’s mischievous prank, a spontaneous moment with distressing consequences.
A small drawing, the work nonetheless had a great impact on Vasari, undoubtedly derived from the artist’s technical mastery and ability to elicit an emotional response from the viewer.
Other works, perhaps exhibiting a few characteristics of a certain artist’s hand yet not resembling her work convincingly enough to secure an attribution, presented challenges in connoisseurship and were excluded from the exhibition.
Thus, while it is likely that women have historically produced art alongside men, the pairing of names with works remains problematic.
Plautilla Nelli’s ability to produce income for her convent derived from a combination of her artistic skill and her ability to manage her career as well as those of other artistically inclined nuns in her convent.