From Touchstone TarotTM by Kat Black
A mysterious, insightful woman. A keeper of secrets and esoteric knowledge. Stillness and contemplation. The Divine Feminine.
Emotions run wild. Neuroses, destructive passion, illicit affairs, secrets exposed.
A mysterious, androgynous woman in a dark blue robe and double-peaked gold headdress stands between two pillars, one light, one dark. She holds a scroll, a pomegranate and a finely tooled red leather book. A crescent moon and waterfall can be seen behind her. She looks directly at the viewer with her large, dark eyes.
The face in this composition is by the female Renaissance painter Sofonisba Anguissola. It's titled as a portrait of her sister Minerva, but looks strikingly similar to Sofonisba's many self-portraits of the same era. Sofonisba was from a remarkable family, where her father encouraged all of his children to reach their full potential. A number of her sisters also became painters, although none as well known as her.
In her late 40s she married a sea captain decades younger than herself, and they lived a happy married life until her death in her 90s. Seven years after her death, on what would have been her hundredth birthday, her husband had inscribed on her tomb: "To Sofonisba, my wife, who is recorded among the illustrious women of the world, outstanding in portraying the images of man. Orazio Lomellino, in sorrow for the loss of his great love, in 1632, dedicated this little tribute to such a great woman."
I thought that the High Priestess was a perfect role for her, a woman who achieved greatness in her lifetime, despite the limitations placed on her by society. Forbidden to study nudes and therefore finding large multi-figure church commissions impossible, she revolutionized the art of portraiture. Those who were influenced by her work included Sir Anthony Van Dyck and Pieter Pauwel Rubens.
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