Portrait of a Lady
circle of Nicolò dell' Abate
(Modena, ca. 1509 - 1571, Fontainebleau)
16.75 x 14.63 in. (42.55 x 37.15 cm)
Medium and Support:
Oil on canvas
Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation via The Discovery Museum, Bridgeport, CT
Bellarmine Hall Galleries
The identity of the young woman in this portrait is unknown, but based on her attire, scholars believe she lived in France in the mid-16th century. Her headdress is ornamented with gold thread and pearls and her dark hair falls down her back, following a fashion popular in the French and English courts at that time. Her red brocade dress, with its elaborate sleeves and gold embroidery, appears to be Italian in style, but it was common for fashionable women in European courts to follow Italian styles of dress. Her pearl earrings and necklace also suggest her wealth and status.
This painting was part of the group of works donated by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation to the Museum of Art, Science and Industry in Bridgeport, CT in 1962. When that museum became the Discovery Museum in the early 1990's, the Kress paintings were transferred to Fairfield University, where they formed the core of what would become the Fairfield University Art Museum.