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Miss Angel The Art and World of Angelica Kauffman, Eighteenth-Century Icon by Angelica Goodden

Miss Angel The Art and World of Angelica Kauffman, Eighteenth-Century Icon

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Miss Angel The Art and World of Angelica Kauffman, Eighteenth-Century Icon by Angelica Goodden

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.


'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 elan. 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

'I've read Miss Angel with enormous pleasure and admiration. A magnificent testimony to Angelica Kauffman. A fascinating read as you uncover, through her portraits, the characters of her myriad sitters - amongst them some of the leading figures of the later eighteenth century...It's brilliant.'
Lyndall Gordon Like an 18th

-century Tracey Emin (but more chaste), she was a canny operator who capitalised on her image as a naif abroad in the fashionable world. Financial Times FT Magazine 'highly readable new biography...The story of her rise and rise shows how little has changed in the art world. You Magazine, Mail on Sunday 'Kauffman deserves our attention as much as Goodden merits thanks for bringing her impressive life to our attention
RA Magazine

About the Author

Angelica Goodden is a Fellow and Tutor of St Hilda's College, Oxford. As well as several books on the literature and culture of eighteenth-century France, she is the author of the critically acclaimed biography of the painter Elisabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun, The Sweetness of Life.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st September 2005


Angelica Goodden

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Pimlico an imprint of Vintage Publishing


400 pages


Individual artists, art monographs
Painting & paintings
History of art & design styles: c 1600 to c 1800



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