Francesco Torbido - Portrait of a Lady in a Turban, about 1516-1518

Francesco Torbido (Venice, about 1482 - about 1562, Verona)

Portrait of a Lady in a Turban, about 1516-1518

Oil on canvas , 80 x 66 cm (31 1/2 x 26 in.)

Close
(Venice, about 1482 - about 1562, Verona)

Object details

Accession number

P26w7

Primary Creator

Francesco Torbido

Full title

Portrait of a Lady in a Turban

Creation Date

about 1516-1518

Provenance


Collection of Professor Antonio Scarpa (1752–1832), Motta di Livenza, Italy.Inherited by Giovanni Scarpa, Motta di Livenza, 1832–1895.Probably purchased by the art dealers Colnaghi & Co., London from the sale of the Scarpa collection at Sambon's auction house, Milan on 13 November 1895 for 4,050 lire, lot 62.Purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner from Colnaghi & Co. on 2 April 1896 for £600 through Bernard Berenson (1865–1959), American art historian. (as a portrait of Isabella d’Este by Polidoro Lanzani or Giovanni Cariani)

Marks


Inscribed in paint (on back of frame, left side): J. familin del ghirapeti [?]


Inscribed in paint (on back of frame, top): Messa figra di Donna che si Supra is Petto di Guido Cognacci [?]

Red wax seal (on back of frame, top): ACC [?]

Dimensions

80 x 66 cm (31 1/2 x 26 in.)

Display Media

Oil on canvas

Web Commentary

The costume and schuffa—the turban-like hairstyle formed of braids— identify the woman in this portrait as someone who was well-off and lived in northern Italy, perhaps Bergamo or Verona, in the early 16th century. Isabella Stewart Gardner purchased this painting as a portrait of Isabella d’Este, a celebrated Renaissance collector she admired.  Gardner considered this purchase from a photograph sent to her by her art advisor Bernard Berenson.  Initially she was worried that the poorly rendered hand was “offensive” but Berenson convinced her there was nothing wrong with the picture.  When the painting arrived in Boston, Isabella wrote “Isabella d’Este… is most delightful. She and Rembrandt held quite a little reception this afternoon.”Francesco Torbido, called Il Moro, was a Venetian artist of Afro-European descent. He trained with the  painter Giorgione and, around 1500, left Venice for Verona where he took up residence with a local noble family who became his patrons. He was awarded prestigious commissions, including frescoes for the choir of Verona cathedral. 

Permanent Gallery Location

Titian Room

Bibliography

Bernard Berenson. The Venetian Painters of the Renaissance, 3rd ed. (New York, 1894), p. 122. (as Polidoro Lanziani, portrait of Isabella d'Este)
Catalogo della Pinacoteca Scarpa di Motta di Livenza (Milan, 13 November 1895), p. 28, lot 62, ill. (as Venetian, after Titian, portrait of woman dressed in black with gloved hand)
Art Exhibition: Mrs. John L. Gardner, 152 Beacon St., Boston. Exh. cat. (Boston, 1899), p. 4, no. 8. (as Polidoro, portrait of Isabella d'Este)
Catalogue. Fenway Court. (Boston, 1903), p. 20. (as Polidoro Caldara, portrait of Isabella d'Este)
Philip Hendy. Catalogue of Exhibited Paintings and Drawings (Boston, 1931), p. 376. (as Francesco Torbido, A Lady in a Tuban)
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), p. 213. (as perhaps by Francesco Torbido)
Philip Hendy. European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1974), pp. 260-61. (as Francesco Torbido)
Rollin van N. Hadley (ed.). The Letters of Bernard Berenson and Isabella Stewart Gardner 1887-1924 (Boston, 1987), pp. 49-52.
Kathleen Weil-Garris Brandt. "Mrs. Gardner's Renaissance." Fenway Court (1990-1991), p. 12, fig 1. (as attributed to Francesco Torbido)
Hilliard Goldfarb et al. Italian Paintings and Drawings Before 1800 in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Unpublished manuscript. (Boston, 1996-2000). (as Francesco Torbido)

Rights and reproductions

The use of images, text, and all other media found on this website is limited. Please review Rights and Reproductions for details.

Commentary

The costume and schuffa—the turban-like hairstyle formed of braids— identify the woman in this portrait as someone who was well-off and lived in northern Italy, perhaps Bergamo or Verona, in the early 16th century. Isabella Stewart Gardner purchased this painting as a portrait of Isabella d’Este, a celebrated Renaissance collector she admired.  Gardner considered this purchase from a photograph sent to her by her art advisor Bernard Berenson.  Initially she was worried that the poorly rendered hand was “offensive” but Berenson convinced her there was nothing wrong with the picture.  When the painting arrived in Boston, Isabella wrote “Isabella d’Este… is most delightful. She and Rembrandt held quite a little reception this afternoon.”Francesco Torbido, called Il Moro, was a Venetian artist of Afro-European descent. He trained with the  painter Giorgione and, around 1500, left Venice for Verona where he took up residence with a local noble family who became his patrons. He was awarded prestigious commissions, including frescoes for the choir of Verona cathedral.