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Portrait of an Unknown Lady

This lady’s sober black gown and white silk costume, complete with delicate buttons and a ruff, suggest that she is a noblewoman. The pink flower nestled in her hair might be a symbol of a recent marriage betrothal. Her face is sensitively painted and framed with wispy curls.  

Annibale Carracci (1560-1609), and his artistic family, introduced this new naturalistic style through the Academy of Art they founded in the Northern Italian city of Bologna in 1582. Annibale was celebrated for rescuing Italian art from the unnaturalistic colour and idealisation of the human form employed by Mannerist painters of sixteenth-century Europe and the dramatic, overstated realism of the Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) - better known as Caravaggio, so named after his northern Italian hometown.

Not currently on display

Circle of Annibale Carracci
Late 16th Century
56.3 x 49.9 cm
Oil on canvas
Bourgeois Bequest, 1811
Accession number
This painting and frame were adopted in 2009 in memory of David and Evelyn Douglas