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Portrait of a Lady
Italian, Florentine
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We do not know this young woman’s identity. She wears an elaborate black velvet gown, the bodice of which is decorated with embroidery in white and gold thread and rows of vertical slashes through which the white fabric of her chemise can be seen. She stands before a green silk curtain and a table covered in a red velvet cloth with gold braid at the corner. Her eyes do not seem to focus and she appears to be gesturing to something outside the picture. This painting may once have hung beside a portrait of the lady’s husband. The bare strip at the very top of the painting would originally have been covered by the frame.

This work was formerly thought to be by Bronzino (1503–1572) or his pupil Alessandro Allori (1535–1607), but neither attribution seems likely. The costume can be dated to the late 1550s or early 1560s and suggests that the sitter is probably a noblewoman.

Key facts
Artist Italian, Florentine
Full title Portrait of a Lady
Date made probably 1555-65
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 113 x 80 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1860
Inventory number NG650
Location in Gallery Not on display
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