Female Musician with
Viola da Gamba, believed
to be of Barbara Strozzi,
by Bernardo Strozzi
Until recently, it was believed that Strozzi was a courtesan, since she was unmarried and since her relationship to her father's friends in the Accademia degli Unisoni was referred to as licentious. However, evidence that at least three of her four children were fathered by the same man (Giovanni Paulo Vidman) indicates that she was probably his paramour, or mistress, at least while he was alive. After his death it is likely that Strozzi supported herself by means of her savvy investments and by her compositions. Although she dedicated her publications to several important figures, including Ferdinand II of Austria and Sophia, Duchess of Brunswick and Lüneburg, there is no evidence that these "patrons" directly supported her.
Hear Barbara Strozzi's compositions performed, and learn more about her life and work, free from Barbara Strozzi, la Virtuossissima Cantarice.