National Geographic : 1952 Jan
© National Geographic Society 89 National Gallery of Art (Kress Collection) UNKNOWN ARTIST (Early 16th Century), Italian * Portrait of a Young Lady Most authorities identify the sitter as Beatrice d'Este, Duchess of Milan, a beautiful and accomplished lady of the Italian Renaissance. She was betrothed at the age of 5 :o Lodovico Sforza, a diplomat who later became the Duke of Milan, and married him when she was 16. Presiding over a glittering court, Beatrice surrounded herself with scholars, poets, and artists. She revealed political ability as her husband's ambassador to Venice in 1492 and as his assistant at the peace conference of Vercelli three years later. Death cut short her brilliant career at the age of 22. Beatrice and her husband were patrons of the gifted Leonardo da Vinci. Many critics believe Leonardo himself painted this portrait, but the Kress Foundation prefers to follow the more modest attribution to the master's studio. Head in profile and bust turned slightly forward give the pose a dynamic quality. Leonardo was the first to introduce this attitude in portraiture.