Skip to main content
A Female Head
Master of the Female Half-Lengths
/

A young woman with brown hair and plucked eyebrows gazes modestly downward. Her hairstyle is Italianate: her plaits are wound around the top of her head and are entwined with a semi-transparent scarf that falls across her right shoulder. She wears a semi-transparent ruched chemise and a blue overdress trimmed with brown fur. Behind her is a green textile, with patterns in pale yellow, probably intended to represent threads of gold.

She is possibly the Virgin Mary: she very closely resembles the Virgin in the Adoration of the Kings (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin), also attributed to the Master of the Female Half-Lengths, and in his The Rest on the Flight into Egypt, also in our collection.

Very large numbers of paintings are attributed to the Master, but this one was probably by the artist himself. He had some rather idiosyncratic painting techniques. Here, for example, he blotted the paint layers in order to depict the semi-transparent fabric of the veil.

Key facts
Artist Master of the Female Half-Lengths
Artist dates active second quarter of the 16th century
Full title A Female Head
Date made about 1540
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 26.3 × 18.7 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Queen Victoria at the Prince Consort's wish, 1863
Inventory number NG721
Location in Gallery Not on display
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo