(b. ca. 1459, Firenze, d. 1537, Firenze)

Portrait of a Young Woman

Tempera and oil on wood, 59 x 40 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This painting reflects an important step in the evolution of Florentine portraits of women: earlier examples almost always show them bust-length and in profile. The change came about in the mid-1470s in the work of the young Leonardo da Vinci and, slightly later, in the work of Botticelli. In the new format, women turn their faces toward the spectator, giving artists greater opportunity to suggest their personalities. By increasing the length of portraits, artists could also include the hands and show the sitters in more natural poses. The catalyst for this change seems to have been Verrocchio's Lady with Primroses.

An old inscription on the back of the panel identifies the sitter as Ginevra d'Amerigo de' Benci, the same young woman whom Leonardo depicted in a portrait. Lorenzo di Credi's painting is clearly inspired by Leonardo's portrait.