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|Portraiture, Painting, Oil on canvas, 103x87.5 cm|
|Origin: Italy, Circa 1518|
Antonio Allegri, called Correggio, was a renowned master of fresco painting and altar pictures depicting the Madonna and saints. He rarely turned to portraiture. This canvas signed by the artist ranks among the best works in the Hermitage collection of Italian paintings.
The unknown lady is depicted under a laurel that is a symbol of poetry and hints at her poetic talents. The strict composition and the noble combination of white, brown, dark green and blue colours emphasize the cold beauty of the face. The sitter is shown wearing a mourning dress. Her brown robe and belt evidence that she belongs to the Franciscan Order. On the chalice there is a Greek inscription, a quotation from Homer's Odyssey, recalling the moment when Helen is giving a bowl of wine to Telemachus with a drink which brings forgetfulness and drowns sorrow. The tree-trunk wound around with ivy symbolizes faithfulness and eternal love.
According to one version, the woman in the painting is the poetess Ginevra Rangone, widow of Giangaleazzo da Correggio. To the other version, she is Veronica Gambara , widow of Giberto, governor of Correggio, who died in 1518.
|Source of entry: Yusupov Palace Museum, Leningrad, 1925|
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