The Salon Advent Calendar: Day Nine

Diana Scultori was both an excellent artist and an astute businesswoman, who, unusually for the late sixteenth century, was given a Papal Privilege to make and market her own work. Like so many women of her era, she learned her craft from her father, also an artist. Consequently, she became known for her engravings and prints. Her subjects were often either religious or from mythology. This one is Christ Making Peter Head of the Church, and may be a copy of a tapestry made for the Sistine Chapel. The detail is extraordinary; every face has a different expression, from clear shock to boredom to adoration.


The Countess of Dia was a medieval trobairitz. Her fame grew throughout the twentieth-century; sadly Fanny Raymond Ritter, who wrote a defence of women’s creativity in Music in 1877, had to guess at the existence of ‘trouveresses’. There is still a fair amount of guesswork in piecing together her life, although it seems that much of her music is about her relationship with her lover, Raimbaut of Orange. A Chantar is the sole surviving song by a trobairitz that has its music.

I must sing of what I do not want,

I am so angry with the one whom I love,

Because I love him more than anything:

Mercy nor courtesy moves him,

Neither does my beauty, nor my worthiness,

nor my good sense,

For I am deceived and betrayed

As much as I should be, if I were ugly.