As an artist, Angelica Kauffmann was able to triumph during a time in which it was very difficult for women to achieve professional success in almost any field of study. She was a Swiss artist born in 1741. Her parents, Cleophea Lutz and Johann Joseph Kauffmann, were both remarkably supportive individuals that nurtured her skills at an early age and made sure she received a thorough education. Angelica Kauffmann spoke French, German, English, and Italian, while also being a talented vocalist and painter.
Angelica Kauffmann's father helped teach her how to create art. Her father painted portraits and religious murals, thus having the skill in order to help train a future great artist. Angelica Kauffmann became a famous artist when she was young, and she became increasingly well-known throughout Europe. Internationally known artists were significantly less common during the eighteenth century, which makes Angelica Kauffmann's success even more impressive. In 1766, she was commissioned by no less a person than the Queen Mother, which inspired many other members of the European nobility class to hire Angelica Kauffmann to paint their portraits. In fact, some of the famous portraits of these individuals that are currently used as historical references are the works of Angelica Kauffmann.
Angelica Kauffmann was creating art at a time in which the rare professional female artists didn't produce especially diverse oeuvres. Her art very much challenged the widespread perceptions of female artists at the time. Her oeuvre was full of historical paintings, portraits, classical or literary themes, etchings, drawings, and engravings.
When told subtly and overtly that her range should be constricted, she made her range more expansive than that of many male artists of her day. Indeed, her mythological and historical paintings were particularly popular with fans. Naturally, Angelica Kauffmann's paintings depicted plenty of female literary and historical figures, which wasn't always the case for many other popular paintings during the era.
Angelica Kauffmann could also be distinguished based on its sheer size. She produced more than eight hundred pieces of artwork, which would be impressive for any four artists. Plenty of people tried to get away with forging Angelica Kauffmann's work, while others merely created tributes to her work out of admiration or respect.
In many ways, Angelica Kauffmann embodies the spirit of the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was a time in which people were questioning traditional social structures and societal mores. The social order was rapidly shifting. The intellectuals of the Enlightenment placed a great deal of emphasis on education, learning, and reason, in accordance with their excitement about human potential. As an artist and as a citizen, Angelica Kauffmann lived up to that standard in more ways than one.
Just as she was able to defy people's expectations with regards to female artists, Angelica Kauffmann was able to defy plenty of stereotypes about artists in general. Many people imagine or portray artists as introverted, brooding figures that use their art as a means of escaping their own inner torment. Instead, Angelica Kauffmann was regarded as quite charismatic and outgoing. She was a sanguine counterpart to the prototypical melancholic artist.
Her social skills, as well as her artistic skills, allowed her to spend time in the company of some of the most famous individuals of the day, including Benjamin West and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Angelica Kauffmann died in 1807 when she was sixty-six years old. She was still wealthy, successful, and admired at the time of her death, and a fancy funeral was held in her honor. Angelica Kauffmann's life story is very much a success story of the sort that people don't always expect to find when they're studying the lives of artists.