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Workshop of Domenico Ghirlandaio, Portrait of a Girl

Key facts
Full title Portrait of a Girl
Artist Workshop of Domenico Ghirlandaio
Artist dates 1449 - 1494
Date made probably about 1490
Medium and support Tempera on wood
Dimensions 44.1 × 29.2 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1887
Inventory number NG1230
Location On loan: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, Chimei Museum, Tainan City, Taiwan
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of a Girl
Workshop of Domenico Ghirlandaio

The young girl, whose name is not known, is shown turned towards the viewer in a three-quarter pose. The view offers a more direct engagement with the sitter than was possible in more traditional profile view portraits.

Though probably idealised as was common in portraits at this time – particularly ones of women – her features betray something of her character: perhaps we can read determination in the small but prominent chin. This was important, as portraits were thought to stand in for the sitter’s whole being – appearance and personality – even after their death.

The picture can be dated to about 1490 on the basis of her hairstyle. It was once thought to be by Sebastiano Mainardi, brother-in-law of the Florentine artist Ghirlandaio, but it is not close enough to his style to be sure. It is more likely the portrait was made by an unknown member of Ghirlandaio’s workshop, in his style.

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