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100 Highlights
of the MFAH
Take a tour through some of the most significant objects in the MFAH collections. On these pages, you can browse 100 highlights from collections throughout the institution. Then visit the Museum in person to discover your own favorites.
Italian, c. 1480 - 1531
Portrait of a Lady
Probably 1520s
Oil on panel

22 3/4 x 17 1/2 inches

Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, Houston
Arts of Europe

Little is known about the life of Bartolomeo Veneto, who was active in the northern Italian cities of Venice, Ferrara, Turin, and possibly Milan. The soft contours of the face and naturalistic use of light in this portrait suggest an intimate understanding of Leonardo da Vinci’s style.

The identity of the sitter in this portrait remains elusive. Although she has been thought to be Cecilia Gallerani, the mistress of Duke Ludovico Sforza of Milan, the probable date of the painting does not correspond to Gallerani's age. The ointment jar on the ledge may be intended to identify the woman with Mary Magdalene, who bathed the feet of Jesus in ointment.