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

Livia da Porto Thiene and her Daughter Deidamia

1552
Oil on canvas, 208 x 121 cm
Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

Traditionally, this work depicts Livia da Porto Thiene and her Daughter Porzia, one of the seven children she had from her marriage with Count Giuseppe da Porto, which took place in 1545. Originally, the canvas was a companion piece to another double portrait, of the count and his son Adriano, now in the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence. However, more recent research established the date of the marriage at 1542, and identified the son as Leonida (born 1543), and the daughter as Deidamia (born 1545). These paintings were most likely installed in their palace in Vicenza, which had recently been built by Andrea Palladio. The portraits would have been placed so that it would appear as if the family were standing in niches inside the palace; however, the floor strip below is a later addition.

Veronese was famous for his use of colour and mastered the rendering of luxurious textures and fabrics, including the marten's fur. Marten fur was thought to protect women in childbirth, and in 1552 the countess was pregnant with her daughter Emilia.