Portrait of a Young Lady, c. 1520-1530
oil on wood, likely poplar
93 x 62.2 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 16909)
Bartolomeo was trained in Venice (the "Veneto" in his name), but he was active in northern Italy much of his life. He was particularly favoured as a portraitist, showing his sitters with an air of gravity that must have pleased them. The use of a curtain to frame the sitter in a shallow space is typical of his works, as is the lighting, used to model form. The beam of light brings the different surfaces to life, and reveals the rich red colour of her dress as it passes over the deeply folded, heavy fabric. Technical study reveals that the artist made significant changes to her costume and hairstyle as he painted, likely at the request of the sitter, who would have wanted the latest fashions for her portrait.