Friday, 24 August 2012

Lavinia Fontana and Bianca Cappello de Medici

'Bianca Cappello de Medici' (no date found); Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas

Again nothing really exciting to choose from today. Then I came across Lavinia Fontana, an Italian female painter who was born on August 24, 1552. I saw this painting right away and decided that it was good enough. Now, that sounds like I have chosen it by lack of something better. But I honestly like it and when you look closer and see all the details of the woman's garment, then it is beautiful. The lace looks quite sophisticated. The depicted woman is Bianca Cappello, a Venetian noblewoman, who was the mistress and later on the second wife of Francesco I de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. She was famous for her beauty and intellect. The boy on the left is Bianca's son. The painter of this portrait, Lavinia Fontana, was trained by her father Propero Fontana, who was a leading painter in the Mannerist tradition in their native city of Bologna. She painted mainly portraits and religious scenes, but it is her portraiture that she is known for. I couldn't find a date for today's painting but I read somewhere that the portrait might have been posthumous because Bianca Cappello died in 1587.

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