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Italian, Portrait of a Lady with a Dog

Key facts
Full title Portrait of a Lady with a Dog
Artist Italian
Date made late 16th century
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 83.8 × 70.5 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Sir Henry Howorth through the Art Fund, 1923
Inventory number NG3817
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Portrait of a Lady with a Dog

This unknown lady stands beside a table covered with an expensive Ottoman carpet on which her small dog is lying. Her hands rest affectionately on the little dog’s back, while its paw lies on the inside of her arm. Dogs were often included in portraits to symbolise the sitter’s faithfulness, which may be the case here.

The lady’s clothes suggests a date in the late sixteenth century, and that she is a noblewoman. Her sober black gown covers an expensive white silk costume that is closed with elaborate gold buttons and thick gold chains and decorated with gold embroidery or braid.

The portrait is probably North Italian, and was formerly attributed to Sofonisba Anguissola. The painting shows some similarities to the style of Bartolomeo Passarotti, who worked mainly in Bologna.

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