Fede GALIZIA — an unrecognized pioneer of still lifes

HerArt Podcast
4 min readJun 28, 2019


Disclaimer: The information provided in this episode comes from multiple sources and is not my scientific studies or discoveries. Check the references for more details. Thank you!

Welcome to HerArt podcast, a project for art lovers, especially art created by women. In this episode, we will talk about Fede GALIZIA — an unrecognized pioneer in still life. My name is Nata Andreev and I am going to tell you seven curious facts that you didn’t know about one of the first female artists from Europe. She had the privilege to be called a painter, which basically means she had commissions and her name was known by her fellow artists.

Curious Fact #1

Fede learned how to paint from her father, Nunzio Galizia, also a painter of miniatures. By the age of twelve, she was sufficiently accomplished as an artist to be mentioned by Gian Paolo Lomazzo, a painter and art theorist friend of her father, who wrote: “[T]his girl dedicates herself to imitate the most extraordinary of our art.”

By “our” he means the art created by men. And by the way, Fede didn’t imitate less than other disciples boys. And it’s interesting how Paolo came to these conclusions, because according to his biography, he loses sights in 1571, seven years before Fede was born.

Curious Fact #2

The style of Fede’s portraits derived from the naturalistic traditions of the Renaissance in Italy with a sharply realistic approach. Galizia’s artistic skills of drawing and painting are evident in her Portrait of Paolo Morigia, a Jesuit scholar and one of her earliest patrons and supporters. He praised one of her portraits of him, declaring this work “of such excellence, and such a good likeness, that one could not desire anything more.” He recommends her to other people and finds for her commissions of religious scenes. In the past people that were ordering paintings were separated in two categories: rich people (that wanted portraits of their family members) and other artists (that were ordering mostly biblical and mythological scenes).

Curious Fact #3

Galizia was primarily interested in painting still lives, a genre in which she was a pioneer and for which she is best remembered. One of her signed still lifes made in 1602 is said to be the first dated still life by an Italian artist and proves her involvement in this new style of painting.

“Still Life” by Fede Galizia, Italian Renaissance painter, 1610, Mannerism (Late Renaissance), Still life

Curious Fact #4

Fede Galizia painted portraits, miniatures, and altarpieces, but the most important part of her oeuvre, for which she earned her place in art history, is her still lifes. 63 works have been cataloged as hers, of which 44 works are still lifes.

Curious Fact #5

The modern direction taken in still life painting was shaped entirely by her works. Many of the still life paintings we see today are influenced by her original ideas. Currently, it is unknown just how many paintings Galizia was responsible for. Many works that could have possibly been hers have been attributed to her male counterpart Panfilo Nuvolone, who drew significant inspiration from Galizia.

“Cherries in a Silver Compote” by Fede Galizia, Italian Renaissance painter, Mannerism (Late Renaissance), Still life

Curious Fact #6

Galizia’s still lifes are among the earliest examples of painting in a new genre in which women, partly because they were excluded from other kinds of painting, would excel. However, her paintings were not given the recognition they deserved until well into the 20th century when special attention was given to her work in studies made in 1963 and 1989.

Curious fact #7

Fede’s name means “faith”.

Thank you so much for listening to the first episode of HerArt podcast — a project for art lovers, especially art created by women. If you want to follow more of what we do, follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And don’t forget to tune in next month, when I am going to tell you about Rosa BONHEUR — the “New Woman” of the 19th century.

See you!





HerArt Podcast

-a project for art lovers, especially art created by women-A bilingual podcast (Ro and Eng) about female creators that changed the world www.anchor.fm/herart