La Fornarina

La Fornarina

Medium:Oil on wood
Location:Galleria Nazionale
d’Arte Antica, Rome

    • 33 in × 24 in
    • (85 cm × 60 cm)

Raphael painted this portrait of a young woman between 1518 and 1519. It is very likely that this painting was still in the artist’s studio at the time of his death in 1520. The meaning behind this portrait has mystified many people.

It is uncertain who this young girl is. Some people speculate that this is Margherita Luti, a baker, who was one of Raphael’s lovers. This hypothesis could be possible due to the presence of rosy cheeks and the placement of the woman’s hands, both of which are indicative of love and passion. It is important to note how the subject is not looking towards the viewer, instead her gaze leads off the canvas, which has been said to be the direction towards her lover.

Most people settle for the idea that Raphael was merely painting his own interpretation of beauty, following common themes of the Renaissance.

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