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Bartolomeo Veneto, Portrait of a Young Lady

Key facts
Full title Portrait of a Young Lady
Artist Bartolomeo Veneto
Artist dates active 1502 - 1546
Date made about 1500-10
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 55.5 × 44.2 cm
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2507
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Portrait of a Young Lady
Bartolomeo Veneto

We do not know this woman’s identity, but the enamel and gold coronet she wears suggests she may be of high rank. The pattern embroidered on her white satin sleeves could be her family’s heraldic device or perhaps a personal emblem.

The fabric of her dress resembles a watered silk threaded with gold, and could originally have been dark blue or violet. Her fine white linen shirt is of an unusual design, with six openings at the neck each fastened by petal-shaped enamel clasps tied with black laces. The hexagonal beads of the woman’s necklace are decorated with symbols, and letters that probably form parts of words from a prayer or a religious text. Among the symbols are the Cross, a ladder, pincers and three nails, which are all associated with Christ’s crucifixion.

The portrait’s condition makes it hard to be sure, but it looks like the work of Bartolomeo Veneto, who may have painted it in Ferrara during the early years of his career.

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