Anna Banti was the pen name of Lucia Longhi Lopresti. She was born in Florence, Italy, and attended the University of Rome and the University of Bologna. In 1950, she married Roberto Longhi, an art critic, with whom she founded the arts journal Paragone. She served as the journal's literary editor. In the 1940s, she began publishing fiction, including the novel Sette lune (Seven Moons, 1941) and the short story collection Le donne muoiono (The Women Die, 1951). In 1947, she published one of her most famous works, the novel Artemisia, based on the life of the 16th-century painter Artemisia Gentileschi. Other noted books included La monaca di Sciangai (The Nun of Shanghai, 1957), Noi credevamo (We Believed, 1967), La camicia bruciata (The Burned Shirt, 1973) and her autobiographical Un grido lacerante (A Piercing Cry, 1981). Most of these concern the struggles of women for equality and opportunity. In addition, she wrote biographies of artists such as Fra Angelico, Diego Velázquez, and Claude Monet, and translated novels of William Makepeace Thackeray and Virginia Woolf into Italian.