Portrait of a Lady

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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Golden hair, rosy lips and pale skin were the ideal of feminine beauty in fifteenth-century Florence. All feature in this lady’s portrait, which was probably made to celebrate her marriage. Around her long neck she wears a strand of orange beads with a pendant set with a large pearl. A cluster of pearls – symbolic of purity, a crucial virtue for marriage – crown her elaborate hairstyle. Baldovinetti has used tiny white dots to emphasise the shape and sheen of the jewels. Upon the lady’s large puffed sleeve is an embroidery of three palm leaves bound by a ribbon and framed by two gold-veined feathers. This was most probably her future husband’s coat of arms. It was the custom for the groom’s family to provide new clothes and jewellery for the bride.

The National Gallery, London



Portrait of a Lady


about 1465


Tempera and oil on wood


H 62.9 x W 40.6 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Bought, 1866

Work type



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