Circular portrait of a woman in a red dress
This pair of portraits was likely created on the occasion of a marriage between the two sitters. The slightly larger dimensions of the male portrait, along with the raised decoration on the back of the panel, suggest that the two images originally would have fit together to symbolize their union. The woman wears red, the traditional color for brides in Bologna, Italy, and she is bedecked in jewelry. The man, almost a mirror image, wears complimentary colors with a similarly upturned collar. The couple were probably members of the noble class in Bologna, where the artist began her career as a portraitist.
Lavinia Fontana was one of the most famous women artists in Renaissance Italy. She was considered to be on a par with the male artists of her day. After a successful career as a portraitist in her native Bologna, Pope Paul V invited her to paint for him and other illustrious patrons in Rome.
portrait; woman; marriage