Portrait of a Young Woman

Oil painting of a young woman in a pink dress. Her neck is surrounded by a layered white ruff and a thick jeweled necklace hangs to her mid-torso.

Giovanni Battista Moroni
Portrait of a Young Woman, ca. 1575
Oil on canvas
20 3/8 x 16 3/8 in. (51.8 x 41.5 cm)
Private collection
Photo Michael Bodycomb

 

The unidentified young woman, probably from Moroni’s native Albino, wears a piercing expression and a sumptuous dress apparently of brocaded silk with silver wire. Such textiles (see the fragment of brocaded velvet) challenged artists to convey various materials and their effects. For example, Moroni communicates the shimmer of the textile’s silver wire through fine, slightly undulating lines of white paint. His diverse handling of paint is demonstrated by the extraordinary detail in the sitter’s face and ruff, by the looser paint application in the dress, and, in the necklace, by an illusion of gold and gems that upon close examination dissolves into dabs of paint.