Portrait of a Couple

Portrait of a Couple

c. 1580-1588

Oil on canvas

Framed: 132 x 173 x 10.5 cm (51 15/16 x 68 1/8 x 4 1/8 in.); Unframed: 99.8 x 140.5 cm (39 5/16 x 55 5/16 in.)

Holden Collection 1916.793

Description

While the attribution remains hotly debated, this work exemplifies how Italian portraiture of the 1500s could articulate family alliances through marriage. The inscription gives the sitters’ ages as 32 and 28, and their elaborate jewelry, weapons, and garments, made of expensive materials, convey their elite status. The marten skin attached to the woman’s waist-its head decorated with gems-symbolized propriety. These expressions of wealth convey achievements and position rather than accurate personalities, and the figures, though lifelike, stand in awkward relationship to each other, their interaction one of alliance not love.

Video

Double Portrait
Double Portrait
Well Dressed Pair
Well Dressed Pair
The Canvas
The Canvas
Who Made This?
Who Made This?
Gender Roles
Gender Roles
Meaningful Objects
Meaningful Objects
See also
Type of artwork: 
Painting
Medium: 
Oil on canvas
Credit line: 
Holden Collection

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