Portrait of a Woman

oil painting of red-haired woman wearing a turquoise gown and black overdress studded with what appear to be metal beads. Also wears a pearl necklace from which hangs a gold pendant cross.

Giovanni Battista Moroni
Portrait of a Woman,  ca. 1575−79
Oil on canvas
19 1/4 x 16 1/2 in. (49 x 42 cm)
Private collection
Photo Michael Bodycomb


Like most of the women Moroni painted, the sitter wears clothing and accessories that display her wealth and status, and there are no identifying attributes or inscriptions. Her pendant cross, like that worn in the full-length portrait of Isotta Brembati, is suspended from a pearl necklace. The sitter was recently proposed to be Isotta Brembati — and thus the portrait proposed to be a third portrait of Isotta by Moroni — but the identification is difficult to confirm as the physiognomic similarities to the other portraits of Isotta (Bust of Isotta Brembati, and Isotta Brembati, both in this exhibition) are relatively generic. The sitter’s style of dress is similar to that in Moroni’s Pace Rivola Spini, which suggests that the present portrait was painted late in the artist’s career.

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