An almost life size portrait of an unidentified, Italian young woman, fills this vertical, rectangular, oil on linden panel. It is titled A Lady with a Nosegay by Bacchiacca. Her unblemished, light-skinned face and neck seem to be bathed in light, offering contrast to the other strong, dark colors and monotone brownish-black background which dominate this work. The woman’s broad forehead is rimmed by copper-colored hair that covers her ears and is visible around the sides of an olive green turban with small, dark mauve bows on each side. Her face is long, accentuated by her long thin nose and relatively small, angular chin. The arch of her thin eyebrows mirrors the curve of her upper eyelids revealing large, dark eyes, fixed toward our right side. Her checks are slightly rosy, and her pink lips are closed. A single strand of small, greenish-brown beads encircles her bare neck, just above the square wide strip of delicate, gathered fabric which forms the neckline of her opulent dress. The white neckline is bordered by a very fine, jagged outline of copper-colored edging next to a forest green insert of fabric across her bodice with narrow strips of the same fabric extending upward to outline the copper-bordered white neckline. Very full sleeves echoing the copper color edging of her neckline and of her hair, puff outward from the sitter’s lower shoulders where they have been attached to the green strips of fabric by green ties and loosely looped, wide, white decorative ribbons. The wide, almost cape-like sleeves cover most of her arms, but narrow abruptly underneath to become tight fitting around her wrists. Her right hand raises to her waist on our left holding a small, sparse nosegay, or bouquet, of a few delicate white flowers and a couple sprigs of dark green and brown leaves. Beneath her hand and nosegay, narrow folds of white fabric suggest perhaps the skirt of her undergarment. The position of her arms is oddly disjointed, her right arm is in full view and her left in profile, extending beyond the frame of the portrait.
Isabella Stewart Gardner kept meticulous records of many of her acquisitions. In keeping with this legacy, object information is continually being reviewed, updated, and enriched in order to give greater access to the collection.