St. Catherine with a Lily by Plautilla Nelli (1528 -1588)
It's often hard for me to imagine
life in the 1500's and the
challenges women must have
faced, especially those
with a gift for the fine
Pulisena Margherita Nelli (1524 -1588)
was a nun by the age of 14 and
became Sister Plautilla.
She resided at the convent
of Santa Caterina da Siena.
At the convent devotional painting and
drawing were encouraged as a way to avoid
Nelli was self taught and
in her practice copied works of
Italian Masters during the high
Renaissance, often piecing
together elements from multiple
paintings and creating something
The artist attracted patrons
both male and female and was
unique in her courage to paint
large scale and expansive pieces.
The paintings, I find are sensitive,
emotional and richly filled with
masterful technique and interpretation.
Fortunately historians have uncovered more
and more of her paintings over
recent years. Many of them
have been in the process of being
To learn more watch this
short video by PBS it's truly
an amazing story.
PBS: Invisible Women Video