Portrait of a Young Woman
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Attributed to Andrea Previtali
Italian, about 1520 - 1525
Black chalk, heightened with white chalk
13 11/16 x 10 3/16 in.

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A young woman turns her head to look over her left shoulder, staring out with dark, almond shaped eyes. She wears a high-necked dress with an embroidered collar that opens at her throat, revealing a narrow necklace or clasp. A schuffa, or headdress made of braided hair held in place by a brooch in the center, decorates her head. Although her identity is unknown, the format of the portrait and her clothing indicate the sitter was from northern Italy. The artist sketched her in chalk in the early 1500s in preparation for a formal painting. Scholars are uncertain about the meaning of the chalk lines in the bottom left corner. They may signal an abandoned attempt at drawing one of the sitter's hands or the upper sleeve of her drapery.