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Italian, Milanese, Bona of Savoy (?)

Key facts
Full title Bona of Savoy (?)
Artist Italian, Milanese
Date made about 1475-1500
Medium and support Tempera on canvas
Dimensions 139.7 × 60.5 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Sir George Donaldson, 1908
Inventory number NG2251
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Bona of Savoy (?)
Italian, Milanese

In this almost life-sized portrait, an elegantly dressed lady holds a bunch of columbines. She is shown in profile, as was conventional for formal aristocratic portraits. It’s an unusual work: it’s painted in on canvas rather than wooden boards, the usual support for Renaissance paintings. It’s also very worn. In places the paint has almost completely disappeared, and the material underneath is showing through.

We don't know who the sitter is. The flowers might be a reference to the lady’s name, although columbines could also symbolise faithfulness. The style of the portrait, with its pale-skinned, serious sitter shown in profile against a dark background, is similar to that of Ambrogio de Predis, though the painting’s condition makes it very difficult to identify either sitter or artist.

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