100 Days of Art History Jinjins


Young Woman With Unicorn

This is a painting by Raphael that I was drawn to due to the cute little puppydog-sized unicorn that the lady is holding.

I am really unsatisfied by how the head on this one came out. I console myself by reminding myself I was still learning. But wow, I didn't understand human faces yet. The nose is at a different angle to the eyes and mouth, the mouth is improbably smooth and overly defined, and the eyes are too big and oddly flat. Don't get me started on the weird grey skintones.

Ah well, at least the unicorn is bespectacled. Wikipedia says it was probably originally sketched in as a dog, a symbol of fidelity, before being ultimately painted as a unicorn, a symbol of chastity. Also, at one point, someone painted over this figure to make her into Saint Catherine and the unicorn was only discovered on restoration in 1934.

Reference image is from Wikipedia. It is now in the Galleria Borghesee in Rome.

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