Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title Lady at her Toilette by Giulio Romano from Moscow Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts as an Object of Social History of Art
Author email
About author Nazarova, Olga Alekseevna — Ph. D., head lecturer. National Research University Higher School of Economics, Myasnitskaya ul., 20, 101000 Moscow, Russian Federation.
In the section Art of the Renaissance DOI10.18688/aa199-5-61
Year 2019 Volume 9 Pages 674685
Type of article RAR Index UDK 7.034...6 Позднее Возрождение Index BBK 85.14

The so called Lady at her Toilette by Giulio Romano from the Moscow Pushkin State Museumof Fine Arts has been conventionally regarded as an imitation of famous Fornarina by Raphael. Social aspectof its origins have not been explored and its function has been defined only generally as a portrait or a depiction of “courtesan” or “mistress”, the issues of its possible patron and original context have not been assessed. Close examination of Lady at her Toilette’s distinct visual details dismisses the seeming similarities with frivolous female images known as belle and reveals strong affinities with painterly wedding epithalamia, which clearly indicates its own function as a wedding painting presenting Venus bestowing blessing upon a new bride. Having established the work’s function in general, the author has attempted to define a possible patron of this wedding epithalamia. Giulio Romano’s artistic career shows his involvement in the wedding of the Duke of Mantua Federico II Gonzaga and Margherita Paleologa, which took place in 1531. As a court painter Giulio was responsible for major decorative works in the city and created, among other, the bride’s portrait (Royal Collection, Hampton Court, London). This portrait turns out to be the closest analogy to the Moscow “Lady” in terms of composition, style, painterly manner and even the facial features of the women. This, along with other similarities, unequivocally indicates that they were created as a set — as a wedding set that includes the portrait of the young spouse and an allegorical depiction of Venus.

Reference Nazarova, Olga A. Lady at her Toilette by Giulio Romano from Moscow Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts as an Object of Social History of Art. Actual Problems of Theory and History of Art: Collection of articles. Vol. 9. Ed: A. V. Zakharova, S. V. Maltseva, E. Iu. Staniukovich-Denisova. — Lomonosov Moscow State University / St. Petersburg: NP-Print, 2019, pp. 674–685. ISSN 2312-2129.
Publication Article language russian
  • Ahrendt M. S. The Cultural Legacy and Patronal Stewardship of Margherita Paleologa (1510– 1566), Duchess of Mantua and Marchesa of Montferrat, Ph. D. Dissertation. Washington University Publ., 2002. 414 p.
  • Bayer A. (ed.). Art and Love in Renaissance Italy. New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Publ., 2008. 376 p.
  • Bazzotti U. Disegni per argenterie. Giulio Romano. Milano, Electa Publ., 1989, pp. 454–465 (in Italian).
  • Boutin L. C. Displaying Identity in the Mantuan Court, The Maiolica of Isabella d’Este, Federico II Gonzaga, and Margherita Paleologa, Ph. D. dissertation. Los Angeles, University of California, 2011. 384 p.
  • Chambers D.; Martineau J. (eds.). Splendors of the Gonzaga. London, Victoria and Albert Museum Publ., 1981. 272 p.
  • Cheney L. Giovanni Antonio Bazzi, Allegories of Love, Emblematic Ardor. Cultural and Religious Studies, 2017, May, vol. 5, no. 5, pp. 277–313.
  • Christiansen K. Lorenzo Lotto and the Tradition of Epithalamic Painting. Apollo, 1986, no. 124, September, pp. 166–173.
  • Ferrari D. (ed.). Giulio Romano. Repertorio di Fonti documentarie, vol. 1, p. 2 (1507–1536). Roma, Pubblicazioni degli Archivi di Stato, Fonti XIV Publ., 1992, pp. 328–712 (in Italian).
  • Goffen R. Titian’s ‘Sacred and Profane Love’ and Marriage. The Expanding Discourse, Feminism and Art. New York, Harper Collins Publ., 1992, pp. 328–712.
  • Goffen R. Titian’s Sacred and Profane Love, Individuality and Sexuality in a Renaissance Marriage Picture. Studies of History of Art, 1993, no. 25, pp. 120–144.
  • Goffen R. Sex, Space and Social History of Art. Titian’s Venus of Urbino. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press Publ., 1997, pp. 63–90.
  • Gombrich E.; Polano S. (eds.). Giulio Romano. Milan, Electa Publ., 1989. 597 p.
  • Goodman-Soellner E. Poetic Interpretations of the “Lady at Her Toilette” Theme in Sixteenth-Century Painting. The Sixteenth Century Journal, 1983, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 426–442.
  • Gorrini M. E. Afrodite Velata di Mantova, nuovi osservazioni. Castillo Pascual M. J. (ed.). “Imagines”, the Reception of Antiquity in Performing and Visual Arts. Logroño, Universidad de La Rioja Publ., 2008, pp. 333–350 (in Italian).
  • Haja M. (ed.). Fürstenhöfe der Renaissance, Giulio Romano und die klassische Tradition. Vienna, Kunsthistorishes Museum Publ., 1990. 377 p. (in German).
  • Hartt F. Giulio Romano. New Haven, Yale University Press Publ., 1958. 356 p.
  • Held J. Flora, Goddess and Courtesan. De Artibus Opuscula XL: Essays in Honor of Ervin Panofsky. New York, New York University Press Publ., 1961, pp. 201–218.
  • Kern T.; Burke J.; Campbell St. J. The Renaissance Nude. Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum Publ., 2018. 419 p.
  • Markova V. E. Moscow Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. Italy 8th–16th Centuries. Catalogue of Paintings. Moscow, Galart Publ., 2002, pp. 191–195 (in Russian).
  • McHam S. B. Reflections of Pliny in Giovanni Bellini’s Woman with a Mirror. Artibus et Historiae, 2008, pp. 157–171.
  • Mellencamp E. H. A Note on the Costume of Titian’s Flora. The Art Bulletin, 1969, no. 51, pp. 174–177.
  • Mochi Onori L. (ed.). La Fornarina di Raffaello. Milano, Skira Publ., 2002. 168 p. (in Italian).
  • Rogers M. (ed.). The Decorum of Women’s Beauty, Trissino, Firenzuola, Luigini and the Representation of Women in Sixteenth‐Century Painting. Renaissance Studies, 1988, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 47–88.
  • Santore C. The Tools of Venus. Renaissance Studies, 1997, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 179–207.
  • Santore C. Like a Nymph. Source, Notes in the History of Art, 2008, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 20–26.
  • Simons P. Portraiture, Portrayal, and Idealization, Ambiguous Individualism in Representations of Renaissance Women. Languages and Images of Renaissance Italy. Oxford, Oxford University Press Publ., 1995, pp. 263–311.
  • Sizonenko T. Solving the Mystery of the Sitter in Bartolomeo Veneto’s Portrait of a Lady in a Green Dress. California Italian Studies, 2016, no. 6 (1), pp. 1–36.
  • Steele B. D. In the Flower of Their Youth, “Portraits” of Venetian Beauties ca. 1500. The Sixteenth Century Journal, 1997, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 481–502.
  • Taylor V. From Sketchbook to Princely Table, Giulio Romano’s Silverware Designs. Giulio Romano e l’arte del Cinquecento. Modena, Panini Editore Publ., 2014, pp. 137–153.
  • Whitaker L.; Clayton M. The Art of Italy in the Royal Collection, Renaissance and Baroque. London, Royal Collection Publications Publ., 2007, pp. 136–138.
  • Woods-Marsden J. Ritratto al Naturale, Questions of Realism and Idealism in Early Renaissance Portraits. The Art Journal, 1987, no. 46, pp. 209–216.
  • Yaylenko E. V. “Let your Plaits down!” Woman at the Mirror in the Art of Venetian Renaissance. Iskusstvoznanie (Art Studies), 2018, no. 1, pp. 208–241 (in Russian).