Colnaghi Collections_Vol 01 - Page 129

Florence, 1577 – 1621
Miniature Portrait of a Lady
Oil on copper
7.8 x 6 cm
Within an oval in miniature format, depicted in three-quarter
Private Collection, Madrid
profile, with the bust slightly turned, this young woman looks
knowingly at the viewer. Aware of the interest her appearance
arouses, she allows herself to be admired: with her harmonious,
rounded face only interrupted by the prominent chin and the
straight nose, she has high cheekbones, well defined lips and
blue eyes that sparkle against the whiteness of her diaphanous
skin. Reddish tints of colour emerge from beneath the pallor of
her makeup while the broad arch of her eyebrows highlights the
halo of dark curls that frames her face and is gathered at the
nape of her neck. Although only depicted in half-bust format,
she is richly dressed: she wears a necklace of black pearls, and
the high collar of her lace-trimmed blouse emerges from an
open-necked bodice with gold edging enclosing lapis-lazuli blue
A number of evident stylistic traits suggest that this beautiful
small portrait should be given to Cristofano Allori. The precise
brushwork used to define the facial features typify that artist’s
fascination with Jacopo Ligozzi’s polished neo-Flemish manner,
a distinctive component of Allori’s portraiture. The dense, lightfilled brushstrokes, particularly evident in the clothing, clearly
indicate the “softness” of the mature Allori, who initially followed
the late Mannerist teachings of his father Alessandro. He
abandoned the latter’s style at the end of the century, embracing
instead the modern manner of Gregorio Pagani and Il Cigoli.


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