Paolo Uccello - A Young Lady of Fashion, early 1460s

Attributed to Paolo Uccello (1397 - 1475)

A Young Lady of Fashion, early 1460s

Oil on panel , 44.1 x 31.8 x 3.2 cm (17 3/8 x 12 1/2 x 1 1/4 in.)

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(1397 - 1475)

Object details

Accession number

P27w58

Primary Creator

Paolo Uccello (1397 - 1475)

Full title

A Young Lady of Fashion

Creation Date

early 1460s

Provenance


Purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner (as the work of Domencio Veneziano) from Fritz Steinmeyer of the firm of Böhler & Steinmeyer, New York in Boston for $70,000 dollars on 9 April 1914, through the art collector and design theorist Denman Waldo Ross (1853-1935) and the American art historian Bernard Berenson (1865-1959).

Dimensions

44.1 x 31.8 x 3.2 cm (17 3/8 x 12 1/2 x 1 1/4 in.)

Display Media

Oil on panel

Dimension Notes

Frame: 55.88 x 41.91 x 6.35 cm (22 x 16 1/2 x 2 1/2 in.)

Web Commentary

The portrait has a highly decorative quality in which costume and ornament play a major role. The rather flatly modeled face is placed on an insubstantial bust set against a uniform blue background. The woman is portrayed both according to literary notions of female pulchritude, which called for fair skin and blonde hair, and the dictates of contemporary fashion. Costly brocaded fabrics, pearls, and precious stones serve not only to display the sitter’s familial wealth and status but also to enhance her physical appearance – in art, as in life. In addition to a red and gold brocade sleeve and a sleeveless overdress, the woman wears a head brooch, a pearl choker with jeweled pendant, and a white cap ornamented with pearls.

This fashionable beauty looks impassive, immobile, and immutable, as if she were outside space and time. Her portrait image has a static, stereotyped character, in which the sitter’s individuality is almost entirely suppressed in favor of the social ideals for which she stands.

Bought as a work by Domenico Veneziano, the portrait has also been attributed to Paolo Uccello and the so-called Master of the Castello Nativity.

Source: David Alan Brown, "A Young Lady of Fashion," in Eye of the Beholder, edited by Alan Chong et al. (Boston: ISGM and Beacon Press, 2003): 50.

Permanent Gallery Location

Long Gallery

Bibliography

O. Sirén et al. Catalogue of a Loan Exhibition of Italian Primitives in Aid of the American War Relief (New York, 1917), p. 57. (as the same hand as the Lehman portrait)
R. Benson. The Holford Collection (London, 1924), pp. 42-43. (as Domenico Veneziano)
Raimond van Marle. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting, vol. 10 (The Hague, 1928), p. 236, fig. 155. (as Uccello?; "Berenson is of opinion that it is a work of Antonio Pollaiulo")
Phillis Bache. A Profile Portrait in the Gardner Collection, Boston. Unpublished Manuscript. (Boston, 1929). (as Domenico Veneziano, 1455-1460)
Lionello Venturi. "Paolo Uccello." L'Arte (1930), pp. 52-87, fig. 13. (as Paolo Uccello)
Lionello Venturi. Pitture Italiane in America (Milan, 1931), no. 162. (as Paolo Uccello)
Philip Hendy. Catalogue of Exhibited Paintings and Drawings (Boston, 1931), pp. 387-90. (as Paolo Uccello)
Richard. Offner. "Monstra del Tesoro di Firenze Sacra II." The Burlington Magazine (1933), p. 178. (as the Master of the Castello Nativity)
Georg Pudelko. "Studien über Domenico Veneziano." Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Insitutes in Florenz (1934), p. 176 (as a pupil of Uccello, the Master of the Adoration at Karlsruhe)
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), pp. 236-37. (as Paolo Uccello; "Berenson still attributes it to Domenico Veneziano")
Georg Pudelko. "Florentiner Porträts der Frührenaissance." Pantheon (1935), pp. 92, 94-95. (as the Master of the Adoration of Karlsruhe)
Jean Lipman. "Three Profile Portraits by the Master of the Castello Nativity." Art in America (1936), pp. 110-26. (as the Master of the Castello Nativity, about 1465-1470)
Jean Lipman. "The Florentine Profile Portrait in the Quattrocento." Art Bulletin (1936), pp. 54-102, fig. 22. (as the Master of the Castello Nativity)
Ruth Wedgewood. Alesso Baldovinetti: A Critical & Historical Study (New Haven, 1938), p. 131. (as the Castello Master)
W.R. Valentiner. "Andrea dell'Aquila in Urbino." Art Quarterly (1938), pp. 238-88. (the sitter as perhaps Agnesina or another sister of Elisabetta of Montefeltro)
Stuart Preston. "A Young Lady of Fashion" in Alfred M. Frankfurter (ed.). The Gardner Collection (New York, 1946), p. 12, ill. 13. (as Uccello)
John Pope-Hennessy. Paolo Uccello (New York, 1950), p. 150, fig. 13. (as the Master of Castello Nativity)
Enio Sindona. Paolo Uccello (Milan, 1957), p. 63. (as likely not Uccello)
William N. Mason. “Notes, Records, Comments.” Gardner Museum Calendar of Events 6, no. 15 (9 Dec. 1962), p. 2. (as Paolo Uccello)
Bernard Berenson. Italian pictures of the Renaissance; a list of the principal artists and their works, with an index of places, Florentine School (New York, 1963), p. 61, pl. 702. (as Domenico Veneziano)
John Pope-Hennessy. The Portrait in the Renaissance (New York, 1966), pp. 40-41, 309, 340, no. 40. (as the Master of the Castello Nativity, 3rd quarter of the 15th century)
George L. Stout. Treasures from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1969), pp. 194-95, ill. 195. (as Paolo Uccello)
John Pope-Hennessy. Paolo Uccello (New York, 1969), p. 150. (as unknown Florentine)
Federico Zeri et al. Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Florentine School (New York, 1971), pp. 114-16. (as very close in style to the Met portrait, the Master of the Castello Nativity)
Burton B. Fredericksen et al. Census of Pre-nineteenth-century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collection (Cambridge, 1972), p. 126. (as Master of the Castello Nativity)
Philip Hendy. European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1974), pp. 267-69, pl. 13. (as Paolo Uccello)
Hellmut Wohl. The Paintings of Domenico Veneziano, ca. 1410-1461: A Study in Florentine Art of the Early Renaissance (New York, 1980), pp. 178-79, no. 51. (as unknown Florentine, after a lost portrait by Domenico Veneziano, about 1460)
Rollin van N. Hadley. Museums Discovered: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1981), pp. 30-31, ill. 31. (as attributed to Paolo Uccello, after 1450)
Rollin van N. Hadley. "Report of the Director." Fenway Court (1972), p. 45, ill. 46. (as Uccello, but thought to be the same hand as the portrait in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (accession no. 49.7.6) attributed to the Master of the Castello Nativity)
Adolph S. Cavallo. Textiles: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1986), pp. 11, 13, fig. 2.
Rollin van N. Hadley (ed.). The Letters of Bernard Berenson and Isabella Stewart Gardner 1887-1924 (Boston, 1987), p. 519.
Hilliard Goldfarb. Imaging the Self in Renaissance Italy. Exploring Treasures in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum III. Exh. cat. (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 1992), pp. 10-14, ill. 12. (as attributed to Master of the Castello Nativity, mid 15th century)
Chiara Lachi. Il Maestro della Natività di Castello (Florence, 1995), pp. 71-75, no. 8. (as the Master of the Castello Nativity, about 1460)
Laurence Kanter in Hilliard Goldfarb et al. Italian Paintings and Drawings Before 1800 in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Unpublished manuscript. (Boston, 1996-2000). (as Paolo Uccello)
Jennifer E. Craven. A New Historical View of the Independent Female Portrait in Fifteenth-Century Florentine Painting. PhD Diss. (Pittsburg: University of Pittsburg, 1997), pp. 235-37, cat. 7. (as Master of the Castello Nativity, about 1450)
Laurence B. Kanter. "The 'cose piccole' of Paolo Uccello." Apollo Magazine (2000), pp. 11-20, fig. 15. (as Paolo Uccello, about 1460-1470)
Harry Berger. Fictions of the Pose: Rembrandt Against the Italian Renaissance (Stanford, 2000), no. 14. (as Paolo Uccello)
David Alan Brown. Virtue and Beauty: Leonardo's Ginevra de' Benci and Renaissance Portraits of Women. Exh. cat. (Washington: National Gallery of Art, 2003), pp. 112-14, no. 5. (as attributed to Paolo Uccello, about 1460-1465)
Alan Chong et al. (eds.) Eye of the Beholder: Masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 2003), pp. xxii, 50-51, ill. (as attributed to Paolo Uccello, 1460s)
Lilian H. Zirpolo. Historical Dictionary of Renaissance Art (New York, 2009), p. 348. (as attributed to Paolo Uccello, early 1460s)

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Commentary

The portrait has a highly decorative quality in which costume and ornament play a major role. The rather flatly modeled face is placed on an insubstantial bust set against a uniform blue background. The woman is portrayed both according to literary notions of female pulchritude, which called for fair skin and blonde hair, and the dictates of contemporary fashion. Costly brocaded fabrics, pearls, and precious stones serve not only to display the sitter’s familial wealth and status but also to enhance her physical appearance – in art, as in life. In addition to a red and gold brocade sleeve and a sleeveless overdress, the woman wears a head brooch, a pearl choker with jeweled pendant, and a white cap ornamented with pearls.

This fashionable beauty looks impassive, immobile, and immutable, as if she were outside space and time. Her portrait image has a static, stereotyped character, in which the sitter’s individuality is almost entirely suppressed in favor of the social ideals for which she stands.

Bought as a work by Domenico Veneziano, the portrait has also been attributed to Paolo Uccello and the so-called Master of the Castello Nativity.

Source: David Alan Brown, "A Young Lady of Fashion," in Eye of the Beholder, edited by Alan Chong et al. (Boston: ISGM and Beacon Press, 2003): 50.