Portrait of Princess (Pisanello)

Portrait of Princess (Pisanello)

Infobox Painting|

title=Portrait of Princess
type=Tempera on panel

"Portrait of Princess" is a tempera on panel painting attributed to the Italian Late-Gothic master Pisanello. It was probably executed between 1435 and 1449 and is also known as "Portrait of a Princess of the House of Este". It is attributed to Pisanello on stylistic grounds and because he stayed in Ferrara in the period, where he also finished a portrait and a celebrative medal of Marquis Leonello d'Este.

It housed in the Musée du Louvre in Paris, France.


The princess is shown in profile against a background of numerous butterflies and columbine flowers.

The subject of the picture has been identified as Ginevra d'Este (a clue being the presence of the juniper, "ginepro" in Italian), although at one time it was thought she could be Margherita Gonzaga, wife of Leonello d'Este. In fact, the flowers in the background do not contain reference to Gonzaga symbols, while a vase, symbol of the Este, is present. Ginevra d'Este married the condottiero and lord of Rimini Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, but was killed by him when he discovered her infidelities. The presence of the columbine (symbol of marriage but also of death), has led to the hypothesis that the painting was executed by Pisanello after her death, in the 1440s.

The butterfly near the princess' brow is a symbol of the soul.


*cite journal|first=Leandro|last=Ventura|journal=Art dossier|issue=113|year=1996|title=Pisanello|location=Turin|publisher=Giunti

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