MORONI, Giovanni Battista
(b. 1525, Albino, d. 1578, Bergamo)

Abbess Lucrezia Agliardi Vertova

c. 1556
Oil on canvas, 91 x 69 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The abbess, descended from one of the most important families in Bergamo, was widowed young and went on to found the Carmelite convent of Sant'Anna in Albino in 1525. The inscription on the painting records her likely death date of 1557. Moroni has been unsparing in his depiction of the abbess: she is unadorned and wrinkled and has a small goitre. At the same time this is a painting of marvelous elegance, with its painterly medley of grays and its sympathetic portrayal of the elderly woman's inward gaze.