Portrait of Lucrezia Bentivoglio Leoni

Ludovico Carracci (1555-1619)
1589, Oil on canvas

The work dates back to the period immediately prior to the completion of the frescoes in Palazzo Magnani, Bologna (1589-1590): Ludovico embarked on a phase of intense experimentation and, together with his cousins Annibale (1560-1609) and Agostino (1557-1602), he saw his reputation in Bologna rise.

The layout is clearly dictated by etiquette: the lady, who is a member of the higher echelons of Bologna’s nobility, is portrayed in a three-quarter figure enveloped in sumptuous fabrics, with the bipartite coat of arms of the Bentivoglio and Leoni families clearly visible beside her. The artist manages to allow the psychological life of the woman to filter through the official approach adopted.