Really striking Renaissance portrait recently acquired by the Frick Museum.
The painting, an anomaly among Renaissance portraits of women, which tended to promote a more modest and restrained image, is the most significant Renaissance painting acquired in more than half a century by the Frick, which is known for its Old Master paintings and European fine and decorative arts, Ng said. It is a gift to the museum from the trust of a longtime board member, Assadour O. Tavitian, who died in 2020.
Neither the identity of the woman nor the purpose of the portrait is known, Ng said, and it does not seem to clearly fit into any of the reasons for which portraits were often made of women: betrothals, engagements or a couple’s move to a new, grander house.
“The demureness of what was much more of a quote-unquote feminine expectation is sort of out the window here,” she said. “Whoever is looking at her is definitely getting judged back.”
What makes it so riveting, I think, is the combination of the super-realism of her very 16th century garb combined with the 21st century gaze of the subject. Good job Frick.