Paulita Nelli's prized work of art now hangs alongside paintings from some of the most renowned Italian artists.
An enormous Renaissance-era painting of the Last Supper has been placed on public display about 450 years after its creation by the Florentine nun Plautilla Nelli. Considered one of the finest works by Nelli, whose self-taught style was once the highest regarded of any female artist in Italy, the work features life-sized depictions of Christ and the 12 Apostles, across a 21-ft by 6.5-ft canvas.
According to Meilan Solly of Smithsonian Magazine, the Renaissance era was not welcoming to female artists and the study of anatomy, a subject vital to the creation of beautiful, accurate visual art, was withheld from them. Despite this, Nelli discovered on her own the secrets of the human form, which she employed to great success. Solly notes that there was a time when Nelli’s paintings were hung in many of the most elite households of Florence.