La Fornarina, Rafael

La Fornarina, Rafael
La Fornarina, Rafael

With the name of La Fornarina we know the particular portrait that Rafael de Sanzio made of this young woman supposedly the artist's lover. Although it is true that on this occasion the complicity between the model and the artist is evident in a carefree and naturalistic style with which the young lady poses for the painter, it is no less true that the hypotheses about her authorship are still today unconfirmed. On numerous occasions, legend and fantasy are intermingled with the true facts that gave rise to the canvases and over the years the additions decorate their history, these legends intensify even more if they deal with the love between the artist and some of their models since they usually appear in different works.


At the end of the first decade of the 16th century, the Italian artist Rafael de Sanzio painted the portrait that concerns us here. It is a small oil on canvas that measures ninety centimeters in height and just over sixty centimeters in width that the artist never sold. The work must have been painted on the painter's own initiative and at his death it was still kept in his workshop; It has been speculated that Raphael's assistant, the also well-known artist, Giulio Romano, may have modified the initial composition of the work, although this is not known for sure either. What X-ray analysis has revealed is that behind the darkened background we see today, was previouslya natural landscape blurred with memories of Leonardo da Vinci's painting.

After Raphael's death, the canvas must have passed to the private painting collection of the Countess of Santafiora and from there to the National Gallery of Ancient Art in the Barberini Museum in Rome. The work represents a young woman who poses half-naked for the artist; the girl has been seated diagonally and directing her gaze directly towards the viewer. Her hair is tied back in a low bun according to the fashion of the time and tied up with an oriental-influenced turban. Her eyes are large and expressive, framed by symmetrical features with a slight smile on her lips.

her In her body she appears naked, gracefully and naturally covering one of her breasts, her left one, with her right arm. For this, the artist has used a completely transparent fabric that is wrapped around one of her arms while the other is adorned with a discreet bracelet on which you can readthe name of the artist. The legs of the young woman are covered by a reddish and velvety fabric in which the artist has shaped some thick folds.

Although it is true that the identity of the young Fornarina is still a mystery, many believe that she could be a Sienese baker named Magherita Luti, who could have been a lover of Raphael. In this sense, the hypothetical love story has inspired many later artists, such as Ingres, who made numerous canvases inspired by the alleged couple.

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