22 3/4 x 17 1/2 inches
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.