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Maria Portinari by Hans Memling, 1470

I wrote a thesis on early Renaissance portraiture of women and Maria Portinari (maiden name Baroncelli) was my main subject. This is her wedding portrait - I'll upload her husband later, but if you Google Tomasso Portinari then you'll see him. They were married when he was nearly 40 and she was only 14. Poor thing! She seems to be smiling slightly here, though, so maybe her lot wasn't so bad after all!

Her dress is typical of the Burgundian court of the 1470s. She and her husband were Florentine but were representatives of Medici banking interests in Belgium.

She may look eerie, but I think she's really beautiful. Memling certainly had a way with light - glorious!

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Uploaded on June 1, 2007