(active 1502, d. 1531, Torino)

Portrait of a Woman

Tempera and oil on poplar panel, 44 x 35 cm
Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt

Bartolomeo Veneto, who was active in Veneto and Lombardy, painted predominantly portraits and religious works. He managed to combine the various Italian styles with the Northern influences as few others were able. His prime abilities included a great flair for realism and an extraordinary attention to detail which enabled him to obtain numerous commissions from wealthy clients, particularly for his consummate portraits.

This panel, which bears the name of the ancient goddess of spring, Flora, is actually a portrait of an unknown young woman, often identified as the infamous Lucrezia Borgia, the daughter of Pope Alexander VI. The half-nude is portrayed against a black background in three-quarter profile, turning to the left but still maintaining eye contact with the viewer. She is dressed in a white tunic which exposes her left breast. In her upraised right hand she delicately holds a small bouquet of various flowers, composed of anemones, daisies, and buttercups, which she appears to offer the viewer with a self-assured gaze.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.