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Portrait of a Venetian Woman, late-ish 16th century

A woman wears a midnight blue dress, of velvet, with a low, straight bodice and a string of pearls. Her blonde hair (possibly dyed; blonde being extremely popular in Italy during the Renaissance period) is braided back and deocrated with pearls. Two (heavy-looking) gold clasps on her shoulder seem to hold in place a diaphanous blue robe of sorts over her gown. The end of her bodice, a darker blue-color than her skirt, comes to an end with an elaborate rendering of a gold ornament in the shape of a man’s face (a joker or a cupid, possibly?) with a pearl and sapphire afixed the end point. Her sleeves are embellished with silver embroidery and embellished at the end with stiff, lace points that retract backwards.


Pale, pretty and shown with a submissive, doll-like mien (all traits admired during the Renaissance), I’m sure our Venetian woman was probably considered quite the beauty in her time.


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Taken on March 14, 2009