Lavinia Fontana was a Bolognese Mannerist painter active in Bologna and Rome. She is best known for her successful portraiture, but also worked in the genres of mythology and religious painting. She was trained by her father Prospero Fontana who was a teacher at the School of Bologna. She is regarded as the first female career artist in Western Europe as she relied on commissions for her income. Her family relied on her career as a painter, and her husband served as her agent and raised their eleven children. She was perhaps the first woman artist to paint female nudes, but this is a topic of controversy among art historians.