To be fair, it must be said that this painting kept by the Louvre Museum, has a shared authority. On the one hand, the hand of the great master,Raphael Sanzio, is recognizable, but it is also undeniable that a large part of the painting was made by one of his best disciples, Giulio Romano. Something that is even confirmed by statements by Rafael himself.
Portrait of Isabel de Requesens by Rafael
This was an order made by Cardinal Bibbiena on behalf of Pope Leon X. It was necessary to portray Isabel de Requesens, wife of Ramón de Cardona, viceroy of Naples. And it is that the beauty of this young woman of Spanish origin had become almost legendary at the time, and the Pope wanted to give the King of France, Francisco I, a painting with his favorite theme: beautiful women.
So they entrusted Rafael with this task, but the master decided to send his most outstanding disciple to Naples, so that he would take notes and carry out a large part of the work, especially her dress and the setting, reserving the young woman's face for himself. And without a doubt, in that face you can see all the delicacy of Rafael's art, who creates from color and light a surface that gives us a perfect idea of the soft cheeks of the young woman, with a small nose, an almost childlike mouth. and curly blonde hairthat give the feeling of pure silk.
In short, this is one of the most spectacular and successful portraits of the artist, on a par with his famous Lady of the Unicorn or La Fornarina.
So much so that copies of this work already abounded in his time, and even Raphael himself made replicas with certain variations to elaborate the portrait of other women.
The work dates from 1518 and for a long time researchers believed that the woman portrayed was another, another beauty of Spanish origin living in Naples, Juana de Aragón, descendant of Ferdinand the Catholic. And even for a long time it was so stated in the catalog of the Louvre Museum. However, recent studies have confirmed that the portrait was Isabel de Requesens (1495/95 – 1532), a woman who not only inspired works of art. She also commissioned them, because when her husband passed away, to honor her memory, she decided to commission the Renaissance sculptorGiovanni Merliano da Nolawith a heartfelt mausoleum made of Carrara marble. Which is located in Bellpuig, in Spain, homeland of the couple. Although, when she died 10 years later, she did not end up buried here, but in a Neapolitan church.