Profile of a Young Fiancee by Leonardo da Vinci

Profile of a Young Fiancee

(Profil eines jungen Fiancee)

Leonardo da Vinci

Renaissance  ·  Portraits  ·  Famous masterpieces
female · portrait · please · hairstyle · drawing · renaissance
Profile of a Young Fiancee by Leonardo da Vinci
Undated   ·  Chalk, pen, ink and wash tint on vellum  ·  20.73 Megapixel  ·  Picture ID: 54184   ·  Private Collection / bridgemanimages.com
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30.04.2019
Kristian N.
Art print on Canvas matte, 30cm x 41cm, stretched on stretcher.


24.12.2017
Clara C.
Art print on Canvas glossy, 40cm x 54cm, stretched on stretcher.
La Bella Principessa - Much of a small painting

As a chestpiece, the image shows the profile of a young girl in profile, with a left-facing view. She is dressed in a simple undergarment and a jacket, which has wide slit sleeves on the upper arm. A border of braid and loop ornamentation holds the slot. According to the then fashion, the girl's full, ash blonde hair is bundled with a hair net. A thin band, running from the hairline, holds the hairstyle together. In addition, a cross-tied braid ribbon adorns the braid.

The drawing is done on Vellum. This is a parchment consisting of the skin of calf fetuses or calves. Painted with a mixed technique of brown ink and white, black and red chalk. On the left edge of the vellum, the picture shows traces of a thread binding, in the form of three small holes. This suggests that this drawing was originally part of a codex. It is stretched on an oak table, which is slightly damaged at the edges. The back is therefore not visible.

For a long time there was skepticism as to whether this work can be attributed to da Vinci.
It was not until 1998 that the drawing caught sight of the light of the art world and attracted little attention at that time. The auction house Christie's called the work in his catalog as "German work" and dated it in the early 19th century. Only slightly larger than a DIN A4 sheet, is the colored drawing. The contract was awarded to the New York art dealer and specialist for Italian veteran Kate Ganz for 21,850 dollars. For almost 10 years the drawing hung in the Galerie Ganz and was considered by many international collectors and curators. Art collector Peter Silverman purchased the image from the Ganz Gallery in 2008 for the same price. Silverman's estimate was that the drawing dates from the 15th century.

Silverman emailed Martin Kemp, a professor of art history and da Vinci experts. Kemp, in collaboration with the French engineer Pascal Cotte, began to investigate the small painting. They used a process of scanning images with the full spectrum of light, from infrared to ultraviolet. This allows to explore different layers of color. Regardless of whether it is the first stroke or later restorations. During the investigation, Kemp came upon more and more clues, which suggest the conclusions, that this must be a work of da Vinci's: the color gradations, the precision of the lines, the type of strings that characterize the hairstyle. In addition, the representation of shadows clearly shows the work of a left-handed person. As Leonardo da Vinci was one. Also the facial expression of the young girl speaks for da Vinci. Confident and thoughtful is her gaze, as if she had grown up too fast. This fact fits in with Leonardo's maxim that a portrait should reflect the "passion of the mind".
But more evidence was needed. Based on a radiocarbon investigation, the Vellum was dated between 1440 and 1650. Vestments, such as one of the girls wears, were worn at the end of the 15th century at the court of Milan. Leonardo also lived in Milan and worked on court portraits.

For two years, Kemp dealt with the picture. In 2010, Cotte and Kemp published the results of their detective work in a book. Meanwhile, a name could also be given to the person portrayed: Bianca Sforza, cousin of the later Empress of the Roman Empire, Bianca Maria Sforza. At the time of the portrait, Bianca Sforza was 13 or 14 years old, but tragically died several months after the painting was made. Kemp gave the drawing its name "La Bella Principessa", the beautiful princess.

Originally, the "Bella Principessa" comes from a chronicle of the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza and the Sforza family, which is located in the Polish National Library in Warsaw. The chronicle with hand-painted illustrations was a tribute to the Duke, who incidentally was also patron and supporter of Leonardo. A journey from Cotte and Kemp to Warsaw revealed that one page was missing exactly where a portrait would have been expected in the chronicle.

In 2012, the value of the small painting was estimated at over $ 100 million. © Meisterdrucke
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Other art prints by Leonardo da Vinci
Virgin of the Rocks Model of a hydraulic saw made from Leonardos drawings (wood) A Dead or Moribund Man in Bust Length The Proportions of the human figure (after Vitruvius), c.1492 (facsimile) Geometric figures and botanical design Head of screaming and attacking warrior Heads of an old man and a youth Madonna of the Yarnwinder Leonardo da Vincis handwriting Study of a dragonfly  Study of the Human Body unknown drawing of androgyn corpus with two heads Perspective Study for the Background of The Adoration of the Magi (pen and ink on paper) Annunciation, 1472-75  (post restoration) The Annunciation detail of the angel, c.1472-75 oil on wood Madonna Litta Head of a Young Woman (charcoal on paper) Figures at the Fire, c. 1483-1485 (pen and brown ink on paper)
Other motives from the category Portraits
Franz Liszt, cover of The Graphic, April 10th 1886 Sir Thomas Strange (aquatint) The Astrologer, 1550 Portrait of Giuliano de Medici (1478-1534) c.1480 (tempera on panel) Double portrait of musicians Portrait of a Young Girl Crowned with Flowers, c.1490 Portrait of Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony, c. 1525-1527 Portrait of George Washington, after a painting by Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828)  (see 149687 for pair) Portrait of Zelie Courbet, c.1842 Portrait of Mademoiselle Alice Guerin Portrait of a Young Woman Mme Hebuterne in a Blue Chair, 1918 Portrait of Countess E.A. Vorontova-Dashkova, 1873 Portrait of John Richard West (1758-95) 4th Earl de la Warr, 1790 Portrait of Arrigo Licinio and His Family
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