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Portrait of a woman (Silent)

Painting, 1507, 64×48 cm

Description of the artwork «Portrait of a woman (Silent)»

"Mute" (in Italian La Muta) – provisional title, securing a female portrait by Raphael, created at the end of the Florentine period of the artist, before his final move to Rome.

"This painting is very dramatic fate, the author of the biographical book about Raphael Alexander Makhov. – She did not see the light, he was hidden more than two centuries, it was in the Palace storerooms, leaning face to the wall, before being brought before the eyes of posterity. On no mention from Vasari, who couldn't see or hear, as if above the picture curse".

The painting is mentioned in the inventory of the legacy of cardinal Carlo de Medici in 1666, and in December 1773-th becomes the property of the Florentine Uffizi gallery, which will be until 1927 as the work of an unknown author (among the possible candidates called Andrea del Sartoand Piero della Francesca). However, once it was established the authorship of Raphael, which is now considered virtually certain, the city of Urbino, birthplace of the artist, demanded the painting back. The case was heard in court, which recognized the claims of the National gallery of the Marche (this Museum is placed in Urbino, in the Palace of the Dukes of Montefeltro, in the court which worked Giovanni rose and Raphael) is reasonable, and "Mute" returned to Urbino. There she became one of the Central pieces, but her misfortunes were not over. 15 Feb 1975 "Dumb" along with "Madonna Of Senigallia"and "Flagellation Of Christ" Piero della Francesca has been kidnapped, and March 23, 1976 all three pictures the police found in the Swiss Locarno, after which they returned to the gallery Brand.

On the deep dark background is imaged in a three-quarter turn of the lady, whose features are grandeur and psychological subtlety. Her posture with crossed hands indicates the direct influence of Leonardo da Vinci, the art which Raphael and I met in Florence, and suggests that the artist was familiar with the female portraits of Dutchman Rogier van der Weyden (1, 2, 3). I believe that Rafael deliberately quoted "The Mona Lisa" (hands of the heroine) and "Ginevra de 'Benci" (expression) – like his paintings of Leonardo. "Mute" of Raphael also contains a psychological mystery, a certain reticence (in fact, a foothold for her name – this is an attempt to interpret her psychological state and light the look in his eyes, no real story behind it is not worth it), but in Raphael's painting there are no hard and deliberate mystery of Leonardo da Vinci.

Rafael is much better than Leonardo and was considering the clothing of his heroine: her upper dress gamurra (typical women's clothing of the late XV - beginning of XVI century), decorated with braid and velvet ribbon, has a complicated cut and written volume, and in the image of clothing items of different colors Rafael achieves a delicate chromatic balance. The ratio of the deaf shades of green, red and brown is truly elegant, and their reticence is enlivened by protruding from the cuts at the shoulders fabric the embroidered linen shirt in ivory and white linen apron (at the time this piece of clothing was more decorative than functional). If the "Mona Lisa" is depicted as a very unadorned, for the heroine of Raphael her jewellery – three rings, Golden lace and a cross with enamels – are an indication of high social status. Scalloped rim ruby (symbol of prosperity) says that this ring is vintage, made in the Gothic tradition, and the rings on the index fingers (one of them with sapphire – a symbol of heavenly purity and chastity) reflect more modern tastes. There is no doubt that the model of Raphael belonged to one of the noble families of Florence or Urbino.

X-ray and spectral analysis in the infrared allowed the researchers to see what is under the top layer of paint. Due to this it became known that for several years (from about 1505 to 1509) and the face and clothing of the heroine has changed significantly, it changed the interpretation of the image. So, initially the noble lady looked younger, she collected the final version of the hair was initially written by wavy and scattered on the shoulders and neckline of the dress was deeper. Over time, the image became stricter – for example, wide strip of fabric almost hidden from the eyes of the spectators neckline. Such transformations indicate changes in the social status of the heroine is likely that she was widowed. This version supports color dress (green was the color of widowhood and mourning) and what is in his left hand the character squeezes the handkerchief.

In determining the possible prototype of the "Dumb" factor of widowhood was one of the key. Three main hypotheses. The first is that it could be Elisabetta Gonzaga, wife the Duke of Urbino, Guidobaldo da Montefeltro (however, it is still likely that her Raphael painted in another picture which in 2016 was also presented at the exhibition "Raphael. The poetry of the image" in the Pushkin Museum. A. S. Pushkin). More credible most of the researchers considers the hypothesis that "Silent" Rafael wrote not with wives, and sisters, Guidobaldo – Feltria, Giovanna della Rovere. She, daughter of federigo da Montefeltro, was destined to marry no less influential and strong-willed condottiere than her father, Giovanni della Rovere, and continue interrupted because of childlessness, Guidobaldo Urbino dynasty. After Guidobaldo the dominion of Urbino will go to his nephew, son of Giovanna, Francesco Maria della Rovere. Both families, the Montefeltro and della Rovere, was a patron of the young Raphael. The third hypothesis believes that "Mute" is not the Giovanna and her daughter Maria Varano, which at the time of writing, the picture could be about 25 years, but at this age she had become a widow. Maria Varano entered into an affair with a person of lower position, a page, than have incurred the wrath and indignation of the family. Some interpreters explain this understated sorrow, and "psychological restraint" "Dumb" and assume that Raphael in the portrait makes an allusion to an unwanted clan Rover illegitimate pregnancy of the heroine.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait

Style of art: Renaissance

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1507

Size: 64×48 cm

Artwork in selections: 12 selections

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