Skip to main content
A Blonde Woman
Palma Vecchio
/

A voluptuous woman regards us with an inviting sidelong glance that is both reticent and willing. She unveils her charms, and as she does so offers us a posy of flowers. Her chemise has fallen from her shoulder to reveal her breast, the curve of which is emphasised by the line of her blue silk ribbon. She holds buttercups, primroses and forget-me-nots, the colours of which are echoed in her hair, breast, mantle and ribbon.

The flowers may be a poetic allusion to Flora, the goddess of spring; Flora was also a common name for courtesans in sixteenth-century Italy. This painting is typical of a type produced in Venice in the first decades of the 1500s and is related to Titian’s famous beauty Flora (Uffizi, Florence). Palma Vecchio is particularly associated with these half-length images of beautiful fair-haired women, which are not conventional portraits. The same woman seems to appear entirely naked in Palma Vecchio’s Venus and Cupid in a Landscape (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge).

Key facts
Artist Palma Vecchio
Artist dates about 1480 - 1528
Full title A Blonde Woman
Date made about 1520
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 77.5 x 64.1 cm
Acquisition credit Mond Bequest, 1924
Inventory number NG3939
Location in Gallery Room 6
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

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