Pace Rivola Spini

oil painting of woman wearing a red dress under a black cloak, holding a black-plumed fan

Giovanni Battista Moroni
Pace Rivola Spini, ca. 1573−75
Oil on canvas
77 1/2 x 38 5/8 in. (197 x 98 cm)
Accademia Carrara, Bergamo (58AC00083)
Inscription: PAX RIVOLA SPINVS / OBYT AN. 1613 ETATIS 72 [Pace Rivola Spini died in the year 1613 aged 72]
Fondazione Accademia Carrara, Bergamo

A pendant to Bernardo Spini, this is the only known portrait by Moroni of a standing female figure presented at full length and is the earliest known independent portrait of its kind in the Italian Renaissance. Pace came from a noble family and married into the most important family in Albino, but in the larger social context of Italy, her rank did not warrant her representation in the form of portraiture typically reserved for the most powerful men in Europe. At the same time, in portraits for relatively private spaces like the Spini home in Albino, such hierarchical conventions may not have applied. The gesture of her hands holding open the overdress has been interpreted as calling attention to her state of pregnancy, but it also serves to show off the overdress’s satin lining, the brilliant red fabric beneath, and the white bow fixed below her waist.
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