MORONI, Giovanni Battista
(b. 1525, Albino, d. 1578, Bergamo)
Woman in a Red Dressc. 1560
Oil on canvas, 135 x 90 cm
The artists of the Italian renaissance introduced fundamental innovations in portraiture, including, in particular, a new type of realism and convincing lifelikeness. This painting affirms Moroni as a master of his craft. The three-quarter figure stands by a table addressing the viewer directly. She holds a cloth bag in one hand and a "caccia dei pulci" (flea fur) in the other. Flea furs were worn for sanitary reasons from the Middle Ages on, in order to keep fleas and other blood-sucking insects away from the human body. They could be made of weasel fur - as this one - or of ermine, polecat or sable fur. During the Renaissance, flea furs were fashionable accessories in aristocratic garb.
Formerly, the painting was attributed to Titian.