Portrait of Barbara Kressin

Object Details


Portrait of Barbara Kressin


Unknown maker, Netherlandish Master, active Germany




Germany (Place created)




Oil on canvas

Object Number:



110.5 × 96.5 cm (43 1/2 × 38 in.)

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Little is known about this unsigned painting except what the inscription states: the sitter's name is Barbara Kressin, she is seventeen years old, and the painting's date is 1544. Her costume, name, and hairstyle declare that she was German, but scholars know nothing more about her.

Revealing Kressin's interior life or personal character was not the artist's goal. He created a harmony of muted tones accented by the bright spots of her hair, gold collar, necklace, belt, and cuffs. Standing in a crisp black silk dress and impassively gazing away from the viewer, Kressin appears more like a pristine ceramic doll than a living, breathing individual. The elegant gloves in her hands--and the hat that the painter originally placed on her head and later painted out--further emphasize the formality of the portrait.

by 1894 - 1895

Henry Doetsch [sold, Doetsch sale, Christie's, London, June 24, 1895, lot 241, to T. Murray.]

1895 -

T. Murray


Harry Quilter, 1851 - 1907

- 1970

Francis S. MacNalty [sold, MacNalty sale, Christie's, London, June 26, 1970, lot 83, to Leone Cei & Sons.]


Leone Cei & Sons, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1970.


Berenson, Bernard. Venetian Painters of the Renaissance (London: 1894), p. 111.

Venturi, Adolfo. Storia dell'arte italiana. Vol. 9, La pittura del Cinquecento, parte III (Milan: Ulrico Hoepli, 1928), pt. 3, p. 481.

Arslan, Eduardo. "Thieme-Becker." Künstler-Lexikon, vol. 22. (Leipzig: 1929), p. 193.

Berenson, Bernard. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: A List of the Principal Artists and Their Works with an Index of Places: Venetian School. 2 vols. (London: Phaidon Press, 1957), vol. 1, p. 97.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Catalogue of the Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1972), p. 33, no. 33.

Fredericksen, Burton B., ed. The J. Paul Getty Museum: Greek and Roman Antiquities, Western European Paintings, French Decorative Arts of the Eighteenth Century (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1975), p. 88, ill.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 123, ill.