Home Open Arts Object: Alesso Baldovinetti, Portrait of a Lady, c. 1465, National Gallery, London

Open Arts Object: Alesso Baldovinetti, Portrait of a Lady, c. 1465, National Gallery, London

How many pictures of family and friends do you have access to on your phone or computer? In this short film, Dr Leah Clark discusses how artists in the Renaissance recorded likenesses by examining a new genre: the female profile portrait. The film explores the function of female profile portraits, a genre that became popular in fifteenth-century Italy. Many of the sitters of these portraits are unknown, but by looking closely at the clothing and the jewellery in the portraits, it is likely that these paintings were commissioned at the time of marriage. Portraits are extremely relevant today because we are bombarded with pictures of people in the media and on social media, while we also have the capacity to make our own images—taking selfies. By learning how identity was constructed through clothing, jewellery and even posture, can also help us to critically assess how portraits are constructed today.

Related resources:

Teaching support sheet

Student handout

Author: 
Leah Clark