The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper are some of his most famous paintings. This oil, tempera on panel portrait painting dated between 1485 and 1500 measures 51 x 34 cm.
It is currently on display in the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana Museum of Milan. The painting titled Portrait of a Woman is alternatively also known as Portrait of Beatrice d’Este.
Beatrice d'Este born in 1475 became the duchess of Bari and Milan after her marriage to Ludovico Sforza. She was apparently one of the most beautiful and competent princesses of the Italian Renaissance. She was the younger daughter of Ercole I d'Este and the sister of Isabella d'Este and Alfonso d'Este.
Leonardo da Vinci was instrumental in arranging the wedding celebrations of Beatrice. Beatrice and her sister had excellent taste in fashion and even got recognition for designing new clothing styles. Her dressing sense was a huge influence on women in Italy and France.
She also had great influence on the culture of that era. She had good taste, and credits for the splendour of many architectural buildings in Milan, Pavia, and Lombardy belongs to her patronage.
This masterful and vivid painting gives a glimpse of the beauty of Lady Beatrice. Leonardo first met d’Este when he took up residence in her court in Mantua, where she was marquise.
She sponsored a lot of artists and was a major figure in the Italian renaissance. She was well educated, and she preferred being in the company of scholars, poets and artists like Niccolò da Correggio, Bernardo Castiglione, Donato Bramante, Leonardo da Vinci, and many others.
She contributed immensely to the success of her husband’s political career by being an ambassador for him. However, she died very young due to complications during child birth when she was only 21.
The painting depicts the left side profile of the lady, detailing her head, face, and shoulders. She was a style icon of those times and was finely dressed.
The royal dress, exquisite jewellery, and ornate head gear added to the overall magic of the image. The artist has managed to capture the graceful profile of Beatrice d’Este in intricate detail.
The portrait was clearly drawn directly from life and has portrayed the expressions perfectly along with various other nuances. Leonardo’s female portraits are a study in beauty and ideal proportions.
The woman in the portrait has an enigmatic smile similar to the artist’s other famous works of art. This seems to be a favourite expression of the painter as a few other paintings also have this common factor. The lady is extremely beautiful and has a pleasant and confident air about her.
The jewellery is antique gold and pearls, and they manage to give the painting a faint lustre and glow. The hair style is as per the trends of those times. The dress is impeccable in black, red and gold. It is held in place by an exquisite brooch perfectly matching with the necklace. Besides this work of art, there were a few more paintings of Beatrice done by Leonardo da Vinci.