Portrait of a Young Venetian Albrecht Durer Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Portrait of a Young Venetian is a small oil on panel painting by Albrecht Durer, a German artist from the 1500s. This painting was done alone with several high-society portraits during Albrecht's second visit to Italy. This historical painting lives at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna in Vienna.

In this portrait, the woman wears a patterned gown, tied-on sleeves reveal the chemise beneath. Her hair is neatly done, framing her face in soft waves. Her back hair is carefully confined in draped cap. The grace and harmony in this work is archived through the application of different tones, from her reddish blond hair and pale, elegant skin to her highly-fashionable patterned dress and black-and pearl necklace: all of these details are highlighted against a black, flat background. It is relatively similar in color tone and pose to his 1507 A German Woman from Venice. There are atleast two studies of Venetian women, all of which are very detailed and daring. One research shows the model with bare shoulders, while the other with a plunging neckline.

This piece of art was not identified as Albrecht Durer's original work until it was discovered in a private Lithuanian collection back in 1923. The sitter's identity is lost: however, in hairstyle and dress, she appears to be Venetian. Some researchers thought she was Germanic. There are several elements on the portrait like black bow above her chest that suggest it is unfinished. They are also not well described as the other passages. With reference to some of these details, it has been made known that the portrait is unfinished. On the other hand, it is also possible that Albrecht Durer didn't deliberately give the same intensity to the left ribbon as to the right. This could be to avoid overwhelming the charm of the dark days on either sides and consequently support the subtle chromatic effect of the bodice.

From the design of its gold ribbons, the bodice contributes to the overall elegance of the painting. The charm in this portrait is shown in the movement on the double rows of pearls, partly interrupted by the slightly darker shapes of doubled ones. This makes the pendant curve slightly from the neck. This work by Albrecht Durer is considered one of his best, and there is no more beautiful portrait. The portrait also shows that there was an intimate relationship between the artist and the model. This portrait is by far one of the best by Albrecht Durer. Other works this artist include:

  • Portrait of Barbara Dürer - 1490
  • Portrait of Dürer's Father - 1490
  • Alliance Coat of Arms of the Dürer and Holper Families - 1490
  • Portrait of Elector Frederick the Wise of Saxony - 1496