Lucia Albani Avogadro, called La Dama in Rosso (The Lady in Red)

oil painting of a seated young noblewoman dressed in a shining red gown. In her left hand she holds a flat fan.

Giovanni Battista Moroni
Lucia Albani Avogadro, called La Dama in Rosso (The Lady in Red), ca. 1554–57
Oil on canvas
61 x 42 in. (155 x 106.8 cm)
The National Gallery, London (NG 1023)
© The National Gallery, London

 
Daughter of Gian Gerolamo Albani, the collaterale generale of Venice, Lucia was celebrated by her contemporaries as a talented poet. Giovanni Bressani dedicated a poem to her, and the poet Bernardo Tasso praised her in his verses. However, nothing of this aspect of her identity is conveyed in this portrait, which centers instead on the exquisite crimson satin overgown that gives the painting its popular title. One of only three full-length portraits of women painted by Moroni, Lucia Albani Avogadro has typically been discussed with the painting known as The Knight with the Wounded Foot — which is believed to depict Lucia’s husband — since the earliest mention of the pair in an early eighteenth-century inventory. Nothing in the portraits, however, suggests that they were conceived together or that they were intended as pendants.