Giovanni Martinelli - inv. 198

Giovanni Martinelli (c. 1600-1659)

Portrait of a Woman
46,5 x 36,4 cm
1879 bequest Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli
Inv. 198

Foreign Artist Room
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This painting shows a slightly turned half-length female figure, who looks towards the spectator with a rather ambiguous facial expression: her mouth shows signs of a smile, while her brow is slightly puckered. Framed by black hair, her face emerges from a dark background. She is elegantly dressed, but wears no jewels: her only ornament is a black string tied at her neck that falls over her white shirt with its squared neckline and onto her richly embroidered, dark-coloured bodice. Her wide tulle collar has both an aesthetic function and helps to date the painting, since we know it was fashionable in the 1640s.
The picture was formerly attributed to a painter of the Lombard school, but a recent proposal favours the Tuscan painter Giovanni Martinelli, active during the first half of the 17th century. His ability in portrait painting is visible also in his sacred or profane works.