Portrait of a Woman
Emilian artist (so-called “Friulian friend of Dosso”) active in Ferrara, Emilia (between 1510 and around 1540)
The young lady wears, over a very fine white blouse, a sumptuous silk damask dress, the wide sleeves of which are tightened on the forearm with a geometric motif, according to the fashion of the third decade or so of the 16th century. The effectiveness of the portrait is also due to the attitude of the girl, with her very clear complexion, who, with her direct gaze and hand gesture, seems to want to establish a direct relationship with the observer. The landscape in the background and the leaning tree with its lush, lively foliage show a clear inspiration from Dosso Dossi.
The work is part of a group of paintings by an anonymous author, first dubbed “Dosso’s Friulian Friend” by art critic and historian Roberto Longhi, a term that later became conventional. Longhi believed it was possible that the artist was born in Friuli, a hypothesis that was discarded by later critics, who instead supported the thesis of an education in Ferrara - where he is said to be originally from - and Veneto, with a subsequent transit through the lands of Tuscany. According to others, the anonymous artist would have followed a reverse route from Tuscany to the court of the Este, where Dosso Dossi was active, thus coming into contact with the masterpieces that arrived in Ferrara from every city in the Italian peninsula and beyond. The portrait was part of the Contini Bonacossi collection, housed mainly in Villa Vittoria in Florence, before being stolen to Germany during the Second World War. Returning to Italy thanks to the efforts of Minister Silverio, the portrait was given to the Uffizi Galleries in 1988.
R. Longhi, L'amico friulano del Dosso, in “Paragone”, XI, 1960, 131, p. 7, tav. 7; L.L., Ritratto di donna, in L’Opera ritrovata. Omaggio a Rodolfo Siviero (Firenze, Palazzo Vecchio, dal 29 giugno 1984), a cura di B. Paolozzi Strozzi, F. Scalia, Firenze 1984, p. 133, fig. 63;A. Natali, Amico friulano del Dosso (attribuito), Allegoria, in Il restauro del ‘Leone X’ di Raffaello e di tre capi d'opera del Cinquecento, “Gli Uffizi. Studi e Ricerche. I pieghevoli”, 28, Firenze 1996; A. Bacchi, “Tempus elevat omnia”: la Verità dell’‘Amico friulano del Dosso’, in I veli del tempo. Opere degli Uffizi restaurate, a cura di A. Natali, Cinisello Balsamo (MI) 1997, pp. 48-51, fig. 9; D. Benati, Amico friulano del Dosso – San Giovanni Battista, in Fondantico (Maastricht, Tefaf, 2020), Bologna 2020, p. 12; Ritratto di donna, “Catalogo Generale dei Beni Culturali”, (https://catalogo.beniculturali.it/detail/HistoricOrArtisticProperty/0900194027