(b. 1483, Urbino, d. 1520, Roma)

Portrait of a Woman (La Muta)

Oil on wood, 64 x 48 cm
Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, Urbino

The female portrait known as The Mute Woman represents a return to the influence of Leonardo. It certainly comes from the Florentine environment, for it was given in trust to the National Gallery of the Marches by the Uffizi, where it had been stored for several hundred years. It was attributed to Raphael only recently. Leonardo inspires mainly the pose of the figure (whose characteristically crossed hands constitute a very clear reference to the Mona Lisa). The neatness of the large areas of colour which emerge in lighter tones from the near-black background, and the analytical treatment of the details of the woman's clothing are characteristic of Raphael. The dispersive effect of this attention to detail is fully compensated by the tones of colour - used here in a fairly limited range - which unify the composition as a whole.