One day, Giovanna swore an oath, a promise of eternal love. She put on a thick black headscarf and simple unassuming clothing and gave herself away to Art. Forever. She laid her eyes on the incredibly fine details of flowers and plants and set on recreating them in her paintings. She tasted their sweetness; she sharpened her eyes to find out their secrets. In them, she recognized the quiver of life and all its fleetingness. Until, floating down in beauty and perfumes, she glided with them as time slowly withered. But her homage to nature would last forever.
Giovanna Garzoni was a XVII century painter and miniaturist. Aside from the many works of art she left us, we have very little and uncertain information about her life. She was born around 1600 in Ascoli Piceno and, while still a child, was introduced to drawing by her maternal uncle. In Venice, she married the painter Tiberio Tinelli in 1622, but their marriage was annulled after just two years, probably because Giovanna had made a vow of chastity. Now free to devote herself completely to art, she attended a school of calligraphy and then started to travel all around Italy, painting miniatures and still lifes for the most illustrious patrons. In Florence, she worked for the Medici family and created the illustrated herbarium that definitively consecrated her as a scientific illustrator. In 1651, she moved to Rome, where, now rich and celebrated, she continued her artistic activity. Like Maria Sibylla Merian and other contemporary women painters, she left us a rich artistic legacy in which art and science are combined through a clear and precise style and great attention to detail.
Drawing on the few information available on Giovanna Garzoni’s life, Anna Paolini found inspiration especially from her vow of chastity, that led her to separate from her husband and consecrate herself to art. Drawing from religious symbology, Anna Paolini represents her as a mystic bride in a totally symbiotic relationship with nature and portrays her through brightly coloured images, in homage to Giovanna’s style, characterised by a careful observation of nature and a very personal way of interpreting light and handling colours.
After The Magic of the Chrysalis, dedicated to Maria Sibylla Merian, this is the second volume of the #logosedizioni series focusing on the discovery of great women artists in History: revolutionary women refusing to sacrifice their talent for the sake of family duties and social rules, obstinately choosing to carry on their ideas, beliefs and passions.
Anna Paolini was born in Bologna, where she attended the Accademia di belle arti before specialising in book illustration at the Accademia Internazionale Comics.
Books published with #logosedizioni: S’alza il vento (2018), Matrioska (2019), Maria Sibylla Merian. The magic of the chrysalis (also available in Italian, 2019) e Giovanna Garzoni. A gift of love (also availble in Italian, 2019).