Profile bust of a lady facing left thumbnail 1
Profile bust of a lady facing left thumbnail 2
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images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 64, The Wolfson Gallery

Profile bust of a lady facing left

Tempera Painting
ca. 1500 (painted)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This is one of 28 anonymous panels, painted around 1490-1500, which originally decorated the ceiling of a Lombard palace. They represent profile heads and coats of arms, enclosed within decorative borders. The heads repeat three generalised types with minor variations: seven of young women with Lombard hair styles facing left, as in this panel, six of young men wearing bonnets facing right, six Roman emperors within roundels facing left, and four facing right. Such decorative panels decorated the leading edges of the wooden joists which supported the flat, grid-like ceilings in the principal rooms of fifteenth century Lombard palaces.

The identifiable arms are those of the North Italian noble families of Vimercati and Malatesta. It is likely that these panels were commissioned to commemorate the wedding of Francesco Vimercati of Crema to a lady of the Malatesta family , which probably occurred sometime after 1487. Vimecati had a distinguished career as a Podesta, or principal magistrate, in several major North Italian cities, including Mantua, Reggio Emilia, Lucca and Florence. The location of his residence is unknown, but as two palaces of other members of Vimercati family in Crema have similar ceilings, it is likely that it was also in his native city of Crema, near Milan.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Tempera on spruce panel
Brief Description
A profile bust of a lady facing left : one of 29 panels painted on spruce, Lombard School, ca. 1490-1500
Physical Description
A profile bust of a lady facing left : one of 29 panels painted on spruce
Dimensions
  • Average height: 45cm
  • Average width: 44cm
  • Weight: 1.64kg
Measured for the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries
Style
Object history
Palace of Francesco Vimercato (?), Crema

Bought in 1901
Historical context
See under 1325-1901
Summary
This is one of 28 anonymous panels, painted around 1490-1500, which originally decorated the ceiling of a Lombard palace. They represent profile heads and coats of arms, enclosed within decorative borders. The heads repeat three generalised types with minor variations: seven of young women with Lombard hair styles facing left, as in this panel, six of young men wearing bonnets facing right, six Roman emperors within roundels facing left, and four facing right. Such decorative panels decorated the leading edges of the wooden joists which supported the flat, grid-like ceilings in the principal rooms of fifteenth century Lombard palaces.



The identifiable arms are those of the North Italian noble families of Vimercati and Malatesta. It is likely that these panels were commissioned to commemorate the wedding of Francesco Vimercati of Crema to a lady of the Malatesta family , which probably occurred sometime after 1487. Vimecati had a distinguished career as a Podesta, or principal magistrate, in several major North Italian cities, including Mantua, Reggio Emilia, Lucca and Florence. The location of his residence is unknown, but as two palaces of other members of Vimercati family in Crema have similar ceilings, it is likely that it was also in his native city of Crema, near Milan.
Bibliographic Reference
Kauffmann, C.M., Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 172-74, cat. no. 213.
Collection
Accession Number
1330-1901

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record createdDecember 18, 2006
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