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Portrait of a woman

tuscan school

Cited in connection with the Borghese Collection in 1833, this portrait seems to be the product of the Tuscan school. The woman, no longer young, is lavishly attired and wears a pearl necklace with an elegant pendant, which is probably meant to allude to her virtue.

Object details

XVI secolo
oil on canvas
cm 45 x 33

Salvator Rosa (54,8 x 40,5 x 5,5 cm)


Rome, Borghese Collection, 1833 (Inventario Fidecommissario 1833, p. 33); purchased by Italian state, 1902.

Conservation and Diagnostic
  • 1909 - Luigi Bartolucci (distruzione dei tarli con olio di cedro e riparazione dei buchi);
  • 1953 - Alvaro Esposti (pulitura).


The provenance of this painting is still unknown. It was first documented as forming part of the Borghese Collection in 1833, when it was described by the compiler of the Inventario Fidecommissario as a work of the school of Titian. While Giovanni Piancastelli (1891) accepted this attribution, Adolfo Venturi (1893) rejected it, proposing instead the name of Sofonisba Anguissola. For his part, Roberto Longhi (1928) suggested the circle of the Florentine painter Alessandro Allori. This idea did not persuade Paola della Pergola, who in 1955 published the work as by an anonymous painter of the 16th century. While mentioning Longhi’s proposal, della Pergola believed the work to be by a 16th-century imitator of the Tuscan school. In addition, she noted that both the layout of the composition and its subject are in many ways similar to those of another portrait in the Borghese Collection (inv. no. 441), which critics have attributed to a varying range of painters.

Antonio Iommelli

  • G. Piancastelli, Catalogo dei quadri della Galleria Borghese, in Archivio Galleria Borghese, 1891, p. 17;
  • A. Venturi, Il Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Roma 1893, p. 79;
  • R. Longhi, Precisioni nelle Gallerie Italiane, I, La R. Galleria Borghese, Roma 1928, p. 185;
  • P. della Pergola, La Galleria Borghese. I Dipinti, I, Roma 1955, p. 142, n. 253;
  • K. Herrmann Fiore, Galleria Borghese Roma scopre un tesoro. Dalla pinacoteca ai depositi un museo che non ha più segreti, San Giuliano Milanese 2006, p. 34.