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March 10, 2023

Acquisition: Caterina Angela Pierozzi

Caterina Angela Pierozzi, "Annunciation"

Caterina Angela Pierozzi
Annunciation, 1677
gouache on vellum in a frame of metal and blue glass
sheet: 13.4 x 18.1 cm (5 1/4 x 7 1/8 in.)
framed: 22.5 x 27.8 cm (8 7/8 x 10 15/16 in.) (not including hanger at top of frame)
National Gallery of Art, Washington
Gift of Funds from Roger Sant, Patrons’ Permanent Fund, and Gift of Funds from Deborah Burkland

Active in Florence in the late 17th century, Caterina Angela Pierozzi (active c. 1670–1690) worked for the Medici Grand Duchess of Tuscany Vittoria della Rovere, who was well-known for her patronage of women artists. The National Gallery of Art has acquired the only known work by Pierozzi. Recently discovered, the signed and dated (1677) miniature on vellum depicts the Annunciation and is mounted in a period frame of metalwork and brilliant blue glass.

Bust-length portraits of the angel Gabriel and the Virgin are cropped by an internal gold frame with an inscription of the artist’s name, her native city, and the date. This composition derives from the supposedly miraculous image of the Annunciation in the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata in Florence, which was venerated for its power to intervene in earthly matters on behalf of its worshippers. By 1677, the date of Pierozzi’s miniature, the Medici family were the custodians of the fresco, restricting the public’s access to it. As such, it is likely that Pierozzi’s miniature is linked to Grand Ducal patronage. The intricately rendered floral border of delicate pink, lavender, and blue flowers is further evidence of a Medici commission, as the court is known to have been interested in botany and horticulture.

Very little is known about Pierozzi’s life. According to a contemporary biographical dictionary of Florentine artists, she was married to the painter Michelangelo Corsi and was likely trained from an early age by her uncle. Pierozzi was accepted into the Florentine Accademia di San Luca in 1684.

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