Mini Biography: Giovanna Garzoni

Birth: 1600
Death: 1670
Nationality: Italian

Garzoni was born in Ascoli Piceno, located in central Italy, to Venetian parents and spent her childhood in Rome and her young adulthood in Venice. She attended a calligraphy school in Venice  but moved to Naples in approximately 1630. At various points in her life she lived in Florence, Turin, and Paris as well the previously mentioned cities in Italy. Garzoni’s numerous travels and moves, along with the level of education she received, was unusual for a woman in her day. She may also have had a short-lived marriage to a portrait painter, Tiberio Tinelli, which ended due to either his witchcraft or her vow of chastity. She left her estate to the Church of Santa Martina and was buried there after her death.

Some of her notable works include: Plate with White Beans (c. 1650-1662), Still Life with Bowl of Citrons (c. 1640’s), and Plate of Figs (c. 1650-1662.) Plate with White Beans is pictured below.


Garzoni, Giovanna. Plate with White Beans (c. 1650-1662), Palazzo Pitti, Florence.

Plate with White Beans is a gouache on parchment which means it is, basically, an opaque watercolor on paper. Gouache paint typically consists of the desired color pigment, water and some kind of binding agent.

To read more about Giovanna Garzoni and see more of her work visit:

The National Museum of Women in the Arts

The J. Paul Getty Museum