FONTANA, Lavinia
(b. 1552, Bologna, d. 1614, Roma)

Portrait of a Noblewoman

c. 1580
Oil on canvas, 115 x 90 cm
National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington

This painting of an unidentified, young Bolognese noblewoman is most likely the sitter's marriage portrait. Red was the colour of most Bolognese wedding dress in the sixteenth century; the small dog was a common symbol representing marital fidelity.