La Velata Raphael 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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La Donna Velata or ‘The woman with the veil’ was completed in the year 1516 and is painted using oil on canvas

It measures 82cm x 60.5cm and is mainly kept at the Palazzo Pitti gallery in Florence. Raphael utilises his particular talent for controlling shade and colour as is vividly evident from the splendour and grandiosity of the subjects clothing which as per usual were selected and painted with meticulous care and attention.

The tranquillity of the subject is also in line with Raphael’s technique which was in contrast to the style of fellow artists of the time.

The completion of this masterpiece was a fundamental factor in making the artist famous for his extraordinary talent. What stands out about this work is Raphael’s skill at making his subjects look extremely life like and as though they could be touched.

This can be seen from the lucidity and radiance of the colours seen on the skin tone and clothing of the subject.

Raphael's unmistakable use of smooth and soft texture is visible on the facial features which are soft yet with a lustrous glow. This portrait is intended to give the impression that the subject is looking outwards with the intention of captivating the viewer with her intense and welcoming posture and expression.

Her oval face and ivory skin tone standing out from the dark background further accentuates the seductive theme. This seductive charm is expressed furthermore with the clothing of the subject such as the silk of her sleeves and the thin pleating of the dress which is held up by a corset with striking golden embroidery embellishing luxury and opulence.

The relatively neutral expression reminds some of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa or, perhaps, Titian's Flora.

The contrasting light sources used in this portrait also serve to make it so extraordinary. When focused on the background, the light extends from the top right corner and accentuates the subjects face and shoulders, making them brighter that the dress. The skin colour of the hand is darker than the face and the veil on the left is darker than the veil on the right.

In contrast to this when focused on the model and not the background, the light source is bottom left and this is why the bottom left background is lighter and the top right background is the darkest.

The portrait expresses youth and beauty in an unashamedly luxurious and opulent setting. It is a representation of Raphael's vision of exuberance and is known for being one of his finest and most endearing works of art.