BRONZINO, Agnolo
(b. 1503, Firenze, d. 1572, Firenze)

Portrait of a Lady in Red

1533
Mixed technique on poplar, 90 x 71 cm
Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt

This painting is one of the most important works of Italian Mannerist portraiture. It shows the early mastery of Agnolo Bronzino, the congenial favourite pupil of Pontormo, to whom the portrait has been erroneously attributed. The young woman probably belonged to one of the leading Florentine families. Her self-confidence and high social status find expression in the picture's bold composition: the placement of the armrest parallel to the bottom edge and the ingenious lighting of both the figure and her architectural backdrop serve to keep the viewer at the proper distance.