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La Fornarina

La Fornarina
Raphael Santi
Portrait of a Young Woman
La Fornarina

Oil on wood
85 cm × 60 cm (33 in × 24 in)

Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome

  The Portrait of a Young Woman (also known as La Fornarina "the baker's daughter" (Margherita (Margaret) Luti)) is a painting by the Italian High Renaissance master Raphael, made between 1518 and 1520. It is in the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica in Palazzo Barberini, Rome.

It is probable that the picture was in the painter's studio at his death in 1520, and that it was modified and then sold by his assistant Giulio Romano. In the 16th century the picture was in the house of the Countess of Santafiora, a Roman noblewoman, and subsequently became property of the Duke Boncompagni and then of the Galleria Nazionale which still possesses it. The woman is traditionally identified with the fornarina (baker) Margherita Luti, Raphael's Roman lover, though this has been questioned. The woman is pictured with an oriental style hat and bare breasts. She is making the gesture to cover her left breast, or to turn it with her hand, and is illuminated by a strong light coming from outside. Her left arm has a narrow band carrying the signature of the artist, RAPHAEL URBINAS. It has been suggested that the right hand on the left breast reveals a cancerous breast tumour disguised in a classic pose of love. Another speculation is that she is touching her left breast to remind herself which side she last fed her child on, the child being Raphael's, the high renaissance painter.
X-Ray analyses have shown that in the background was originally a Leonardo-style landscape in place of the myrtle bush, which was sacred to Venus, goddess of love and passion.

La Fornarina wears a yellow and blue turban adorned with a peart. Her hair, compound within the middle, is thick, black. The forehead is sleek. Her eyes, black, large, look to her left; the pupils area unit expanded. Since the light comes from the correct, the painter, to best examine her, may need positioned himself on her left; the topic of her gaze may need been Raphael himself. Her nose is slightly hooked, the ear well shaped. The lips drawn slightly, her mouth’s right comer hollows into a dimple. Her jaw is proportional, nicdy chiselled. She wears a blue bracelet on her left arm with “Raphael Vtbinas" embroidered in gold and a hoop on her fourth finger. The right hand rests on her left breast. She covers her abdomen with a veil and drapes her thighs with a red skirl.


La Fornarina - Enlarged
Raphael Santi
La Fornarina
Enlarged detail

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