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A spotlight on outstanding women artists and their works in the Royal Collection

Diana Scultori (c.1547-1612)

Holy Family with the Young John the Baptist under an Oak Tree [‘The Madonna della Quercia’] c.1575

RCIN 850993

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Diana Scultori is the only sixteenth-century Italian female printmaker who signed the engravings she produced, a significant expression of her agency and public identity in a male-dominated profession. Her occupation and skill were first recorded by Giorgio Vasari in 1568, who wrote a celebrated series of artists' biographies known as The Lives. In this publication, he recognises Scultori's brother Adamo as an accomplished printmaker who was taught (as she was) by their father. Vasari goes on to celebrate 'what is more marvellous, a daughter named Diana who also engraves so well that it is a wonderful thing'.

This print reproduces a painting now at the Prado Museum, Madrid, where the design is considered to be by Raphael but the execution by Giulio Romano, under whom Scultori's father had worked at the Palazzo del Te, Mantua.