100 Days of Art History Jinjins


Portrait of Maria Portinari

I found this painting in a coffee table book of masterpieces in the Met's collection. It's simple, but still interested me due to this subject's fascinating hat and elaborate necklace.

I put in many hours here studying my face in three quarters view. I vaguely remember having some trouble with one of the eyes and nudging it around a lot. I also still had a lot to learn about how skintones work.

Looking up the original painting, it seems that the subject is a mere 14 years old, even though this is a marriage portrait. It's actually one of a set--the other portrait shows her husband, hands also in prayer, looking toward the right. There would have been a central panel that sat between them as the object of their prayers, probably of the Virgin Mary, but it's been lost. One last point--she probably had her hairline shaved back because this high foreheaded, slightly bald look was fashionable at the time. Beauty standards are such a moving target.

Reference image is from Wikipedia. The original is now in The Met.

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