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Style of Domenico Ghirlandaio, Costanza Caetani

Key facts
Full title Costanza Caetani
Artist Style of Domenico Ghirlandaio
Artist dates 1449 - 1494
Date made probably about 1480-90
Medium and support Tempera and oil on wood
Dimensions 57.2 × 37.5 cm
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2490
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Costanza Caetani
Style of Domenico Ghirlandaio

The Latin inscription identifies this woman as Costanza de‘ Medici, the wife of an important Florentine citizen of the Caetani family. The portrait was clearly made to celebrate their marriage: she holds a sprig of orange blossom, which was associated with chastity and traditionally worn by brides and wives. The jewellery on the ledge may have been part of the ’counter-dowry‘, the gifts given by the groom. There is a ruby necklace finished off with three pearls, symbols of purity, and three rings on a bolster, which also refer to marriage. The gold pins and the needle are an expression of her domestic skills.

Records show that Costanza de’ Medici was born in about 1469 and was married by 1489. The picture was probably made around this time. It belongs to a group of portraits which are close in style to those produced by Domenico Ghirlandaio and his workshop, but the individual artist cannot be identified.

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