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The first biography of this extraordinary woman in over 80 years.

A word was coined to describe the condition of people stricken with a new kind of fever when the Swiss-born artist Angelica Kauffman (1741-1807) came to London in 1766. 'The whole world', it was said, 'is Angelicamad.'
One of the most successful women artists in history - a painter who possessed what her friend Goethe called an 'unbelievable' and 'massive' talent - Kauffman became the toast of Georgian England, captivating society with her portraits, mythological scenes and decorative compositions. She knew and painted poets, novelists and playwrights, collaborating with them and illustrating their work; her designs adorned the houses of the Grand Tourists she had met and painted in Italy; actors, statesmen, philosophers, kings and queen sat to her; and she was the force that launched a thousand engravings. Despite rumours of relationships with other artists (including Sir Joshua Reynolds), and an apparently bigamous and annulled first marriage to a pseudo Count, Kauffman was adopted by royalty in England and abroad as a model of social and artistic decorum.
A profoundly learned artist, but one who is loved, above all, for her tender adaptations from classical antiquity and sentimental literature; a commercially successful celebrity yet also a founding member of The Royal Academy of arts; the virginal creator of sexually ambivalent beings who was one of the hardest-headed businesswomen of her age, Kauffman's life and work is full of apparent contradictions explored in this first biography in over 80 years.

Reviews

If Angelica Goodden is named after Angelica Kauffman, [Goodden] has fulfilled her destiny. This is an amusing and solid biography...[Goodden] shows that there was much more to Angelica's story than her art, and the market proves that the taste for her gentle pictures prevails despite the dismissal of puritanical critics.

John McEwen, Literary Review

Like an 18th-century Tracey Emin... she was a canny operator who capitalised on her image as a naif abroad in the fashionable world.

Financial Times

Refreshing... [Kauffman] was quite as celebrated as Emin, once upon a time - more so, in fact, since there was simply no one to touch her in her heyday.

Natasha Walter, Guardian

A riveting reappraisal. Angelica Goodden tells the story of Kauffman's sensational rise to fame in vivid detail with a wealth of new insight into the late eighteenth century European art world in which she operated with such élan. Best of all Goodden tackles the still controversial subject of Kauffman's real standing as an artist, posing the question 'Was she really worth it?' This skilful, perspicacious book convinces us she was.

Fiona MacCarthy

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9781844139316

    October 2, 2006

    Pimlico

    400 pages

    RRP $42.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Hardback

    9781844137589

    September 15, 2005

    Pimlico

    400 pages

    RRP $59.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781446448359

    May 31, 2011

    Vintage Digital

    400 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

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