Bust of Isotta Brembati

oil painting of young woman in a red dress with a tall white collar. She also wears multiple necklaces

Giovanni Battista Moroni
Bust of Isotta Brembati, ca. 1550
Oil on canvas
21 5/8 x 18 1/2 in. (55 x 47 cm)
Accademia Carrara, Bergamo (58AC00087)
Fondazione Accademia Carrara, Bergamo

 
This is believed to be the earliest of Moroni’s independent portraits of women, which number about fifteen of the nearly one hundred twenty-five portraits attributed to him today. Identified in the nineteenth century as the Bergamasque noblewoman and poet Isotta Brembati, the sitter was painted again by Moroni at a later date in the full-length seated portrait; she may have been the conduit for Moroni’s painting of several other members of her family in the 1550s and 1560s. Possibly depicting Isotta at sixteen years of age, this portrait may have been commissioned as a gift for her future husband, Lelio Secco d’Aragona di Calcio, who left her widowed some time before 1561, when she married Gian Gerolamo Grumelli, the subject of Moroni’s Man in Pink.