Portrait of Isabella of Portugal

Object Details

Title:

Portrait of Isabella of Portugal

Artist/Maker(s):

Workshop of Rogier van der Weyden (Netherlandish, 1399/1400 - 1464)

Culture:

Netherlandish

Place(s):

Netherlands (Place created)

Date:

about 1450

Medium:

Oil on panel

Dimensions:

46 x 37.1 cm (18 1/8 x 14 5/8 in.)

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Seated with her hands crossed in her lap, Isabella of Portugal, the duchess of Burgundy, conveys the poise and confidence of her noble position. Her sumptuous attire, heavily woven with gold thread, and her jeweled fingers and headdress reflect her aristocratic status. Oddly, the artist did not match the patterns of the sleeves, as would have been customary during this period.

In fact, the duchess never actually sat for this portrait, which may account for the misunderstood representation of her clothing. Scholars believe that the artist copied Isabella's likeness from a lost portrait by Rogier van der Weyden. The tender, slightly mocking expression on the duchess's face and the elongated fingers reflect van der Weyden's concept of portraiture.

The prominent inscription in the upper left corner of the panel, PERSICA SIBYLLA IA, suggests that the portrait was part of a series depicting sibyls. This identity strikingly contrasts with Duchess Isabella's costume. Scholars believe that someone other than the original artist added the inscription, as well as the brown background meant to simulate wood, some time after the portrait was painted.

Provenance
before 1629

Possibly Alexandre d'Arenberg, duke of Croy and prince of Chimay, 1590 - 1629

- 1883

Christianus Johannes Nieuwenhuys (Brussels, Belgium; London, England) [sold, Nieuwenhuys sale, Saint-Luc, Brussels, May 4, 1883, lot 4.]

by 1898 - 1900

Baron Adolphe (Carl) de Rothschild, Austrian, 1823 - 1900 (Naples, Italy; Paris, France), by inheritance to Baron Maurice (Edmond Charles) de Rothschild, 1900.

1900 - by 1927

Baron Maurice (Edmond Charles) de Rothschild, Austrian, 1881 - 1957 (Paris, France)

by 1927 - 1948

John D. Rockefeller, Jr., 1874 - 1960, owned jointly with his second wife, Martha Baird Rockefeller, upon their marriage, 1948.

1948 - 1960

John D. Rockefeller, Jr., 1874 - 1960

1948 - 1971

and Martha Baird Rockefeller, 1895 - 1971 (New York, New York), upon his death, retained by his second wife, Martha Baird Rockefeller; by inheritance to Abigail Rockefeller Milton Pardee Mauzé, daughter of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and his first wife Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, 1971.

1971 - 1976

Abigail Rockefeller Milton Pardee Mauzé, 1903 - 1976, upon her death, held in trust by the estate.

1976 - by 1977

Estate of Abigail Rockefeller Milton Pardee Mauzé, 1903 - 1976, consigned to Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd. (London, England), by 1977.

by 1977 - 1978

Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd. (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978.

Exhibitions
Flemish and Belgian Art (1927)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), 1927, (Cat. 29)
Loan Exhibition of Flemish Primitives (October to November 1929)
  • Kleinberger Galleries, (Paris), October 1, 1929 to November 1, 2029, (Cat. [as Roger van der Weyden, Portrait of a Lady of High Rank, coll. John D. Rockefeller] Cat. 7)
Twentieth Anniversary Exhibition (Great Lakes Exposition) (June 26 to October 4, 1936)
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art, (Cleveland), June 26 to October 4, 1936, (Cat. 212)
Masterpieces of Art (European Paintings and Sculpture from 1300-1800) (May to October, 1939)
  • New York World's Fair, (Queens), May to October, 1939, (Cat. 410)
Flemish Primitives (April 13 to May 9, 1942)
  • Knoedler & Company, (New York), April 13 to May 9, 1942, (Cat. 7)
Rogier van der Weyden - Rogier de le Pasture (October 6 to November 18, 1979)
  • Musée Communal de Bruxelles, Maison du Roi, (Brussels), October 6 to November 18, 1979, (Cat. entry by L. Campbell 14)
Rogier van der Weyden: 600th Anniversary of His Birth (March 18 to July 4, 1999)
  • The National Gallery (London), March 18 to July 4, 1999, (Cat.)
Birth of Modern Painting (November 21, 2008 to June 21, 2009)
  • Staedel Institute, (Frankfurt am Main), November 21, 2008 to March 1, 2009, (Cat. 40)
  • Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz, (Berlin), March 20 to June 21, 2009, (Cat. 40)
Rogier van der Weyden, ca. 1400-1464 - Master of Passions (September 18 to December 6, 2009)
  • Stedelijk Museum Vander Kelen-Mertens, (Leuven), September 18 to December 6, 2009, (Cat. 15)
Face to Face: Flanders, Florence, and Renaissance (September 28, 2013 to January 13, 2014)
  • Huntington Art Collections, (San Marino), September 28, 2013 to January 13, 2014, (Cat. 22)
Bibliography

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. 5th ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1980), p. 60.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 135, ill.