Purchased from the former Königlichen Museen (Gipsformerei, Berlin) 1889 for 15 marks
Portrait of a woman
Francesco Laurana (about 1430-1502)
Marble painted and gilded
Formerly in Berlin, Germany, destroyed 1945
This cast represents one of nine female portrait busts ascribed to Laurana on the basis of their resemblance to a series of documented figures of the Virgin and Child in Sicily. Two of these busts, in the Frick Collection, New York, and in the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., are closely related to the portrait in this cast as they appear to represent the same person, and have similar bases decorated with classicizing figures. The sitter has been tentatively identified as Ippolita Maria Sforza, the wife of King Alfonso II of Naples, but this theory is not based on any secure evidence. The lost portrait bust in Berlin had the remains of extensive pigmentation, and the faint incised decoration of the dress, was, on the original, a richly gilded pattern. The hole at the breast may once have been covered by a metal brooch or pendant and the cartouche might have originally contained the sitter's name. The original painted and gilded marble bust was formerly in Berlin, Germany, but was destroyed in 1945.