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

Portrait of a Woman

c. 1550
Oil on wood, 60 x 49 cm
Museum of Art, Cleveland

During the 1540s Bronzino painted a few portraits of other sitters, which are stylistically related to his Medici portraits of this decade, although decidedly more individualistic. Though the woman on the present portrait cannot be definitively identified, she was likely affiliated with the Medici court. Bronzino emphasizes wealth, status, and courtly refinement above personality or individualized expression. The plain background further accentuates the work's monumentality and grandeur, despite its small scale. The hand placed against the chest with elegantly spread fingers extends back to an ancient Greek pose of modesty, here emphasizing the proper comportment of a woman of high status. The sitter wears a linen partlet (collar) delicately embroidered in matt stitch, part of which is, like her cuffs, trimmed in fine lace.