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

Lady with a Unicorn

c. 1505
Oil on wood, 65 x 51 cm
Galleria Borghese, Rome

The painting earlier was attributed to Perugino, Ridolfo Ghirlandaio, Granacci. At the time (in 1928) of the identification of the artist as Raphael, the painting had been heavily painted over to represent a St Catherine. After careful cleaning, the perfect geometry and detachment of this courtly figure were revealed, although her identity is not known. Present day critics attribute the work to Raphael, referring it to 1505 and to the Florentine environment. It can, in fact, be inserted among the portraits of that period, for it represents an apex in the artist's stylistic development. The fullness of the well constructed figure is set apart from a vast landscape background, inspired by Leonardo but executed with the clarity typical of Raphael. Piero della Francesca and Perugino influences have also been noted in the style of the painting.

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