(b. 1480, Serina, d. 1528, Venezia)
Portrait of a Young Woman-
Oil on panel, 38,8 x 28,5 cm
Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest
Jacopo d'Antonio Negreti, known to art history as Palma Vecchio (Palma the Elder), left Serinalta, near Bergamo, while still a youth and went to Venice. Although a pupil of Giovanni Bellini, his early work reveals the powerful influence of Giorgione. In spite of research, little is known about the early years of his career, but this small bust and its companion-piece which are jointly known as Portraits of a Betrothed Couple are considered to be early works.
In the early seventeenth century this portrait of a young girl with flowing silky hair, and its counterpart, depicting a smooth-faced youth crowned with a garland, were considered to be the work of Giorgione. Indeed this attribution is most understandable, for the paintings have something of the intimate and lyrical atmosphere associated with Giorgione; on the other hand the placing of the figures in a landscape setting, the blue sky and the generally light colouring, are all reminiscent of Giovanni Bellini. Recent research, therefore, suggests that the pictures were painted by Palma Vecchio, an artist who was close to both these painters, and they are now assumed to date from the beginning of the sixteenth century. It may well be that the two likenesses had a symbolic meaning, for in seventeenth-century Venetian records they are listed as Portraits of a Roman Consul and His Wife.