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Anthony van Dyck: 'Portrait of a Woman'

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The sitter's identity is uncertain. It has been suggested that she is the Marchesa Cattaneo on the basis that she was painted as a pendant to Van Dyck's 'Portrait of Giovanni Battista Cattaneo', also in the National Gallery. An old label on the back of a copy of this picture (South Carolina, Bob Jones University Collection) identifies the sitter as Antonia Demarini (born 1603), who married Francesco Lercari, Doge of Genoa, in 1638. There are no securely identified portraits of her to corroborate this identification.

This picture was painted during Van Dyck's stay in Italy, probably in about 1625-7. It is first recorded in the collection of the Cattaneo family in Genoa in the early 19th century, along with 'Portrait of Giovanni Battista Cattaneo' .

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