Bust-length portrait of an unknown woman

Portrait of a Lady, 15th century

A beautiful Italian woman in the 1400s had a high forehead, pale complexion, and bleached hair—ideals derived from literature, which linked beauty to virtue. The woman’s simple hairstyle, fine jewelry, and modest demeanor suggest that she is a respectable, married woman from a wealthy family. The delicate bird in the lace at her neckline may be a family emblem. The introduction of oil-based paints in the 1400s enabled greater realism and Ghirlandaio made the most of it, as in the way light bounces off her pearls or the convincing transparency of her veil.



Ghirlandaio, Portrait of a Lady (#670)
Portrait of a Lady
Artist Life
(Florence), 1458 - 1497
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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Bust-length portrait of an unknown woman