VERONESE, Paolo
(b. 1528, Verona, d. 1588, Venezia)

Isabella Guerrieri Gonzaga Canossa

1547-48
Oil on canvas, 115 x 95 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Long recorded as the portrait of an unknown woman, in 1648 the painting was in the possession of the Bevilacqua, who were related to the Canossa. It is one of the earliest of a series of patrician portraits, and documents the growing reputation of the young Veronese, who was the protege of the Verona-based architect Michele Sanmicheli. Isabella became a widow in 1541. Her appearance and conspicuously plain dress testify to her position in life, and express the young painter's ability to empathize with his subject.