Elizabeth of York
Maria of Aragon
Portrait of Arthur Prince of Wales, c.1509
«It is difficult to exaggerate the rarity and the importance of this small royal portrait. When discovered it was described by Catherine MacLeod, curator of sixteenth and seventeenth century portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, as ‘the only surviving portrait of Arthur that could have been painted within his lifetime,’ which means that it is one of the earliest surviving easel portraits in British art.»
«From the sitter’s age it is apparent that this portrait was executed in the concluding stages of the marriage negotiations, and by costume may be dated to c.1500. The association with the Prince’s marriage is especially probable when one considers the flower that he is depicted holding. The white gillyflower traditionally connotes betrothal and purity, by reason of its colour, and kingship, by reason of the coronet-like shape of its flowers. The identification of this motif is confirmed by the description of this panel in a seventeenth century inventory of the Royal Collection, compiled between 1637 and 1640 by Abraham van der Doort, Keeper of the Royal Pictures to Charles I:
A Whithall peece
Item the i5th being Princ Arthure in his minoritye
In a black cap and goulden habbitt houlding in his right
hand a white gillifloore in a reed pintit goulden frame»
Katherine of Aragon
In this portrait in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we see Maria Portinari wearing a similar necklace.
«The Patron: Tommaso di Folco Portinari (1428–1501) was a member of a prominent Florentine family who emigrated to Bruges to eventually become the branch manager of the Medici bank there. In about 1470, when he was about forty-two, he married Maria Maddelena Baroncelli (born Maria di Francesco Bandini Baroncelli in 1456), a mere fourteen-year-old from another leading Florentine family. They lived in elegant style in one of the grandest houses in Bruges, the Bladelinhof, which also served as Tommaso’s business offices beginning in 1466. Portinari was a strong supporter and patron of the reformed Observant branch of the Franciscan order, highly fashionable in Bruges at the time, which also received the court patronage of Margaret of York and Isabella of Portugal. In addition, he worshipped at the church of Saint James, located near the Prinsenhof and frequented by Dukes Philip the Good and Charles the Bold when they visited Bruges. Portinari was in fact a generous patron of Saint James’s church, particularly contributing to its rebuilding in the 1460s and 1470s. He was granted a funerary chapel there which he decorated lavishly. Tommaso was associated with the prestigious Confraternity of the Dry Tree, a cult promoted by the Franciscans that drew its membership from the elite society of Bruges—courtiers, foreign merchants, patrician families, and distinguished artists such as Petrus Christus and Gerard David. Portinari was a leading patron of the arts and commissioned important works from the most highly sought-after artists of his day. Among these works are Hans Memling’s Passion of Christ (Galleria Saubauda, Turin) and The Met’s Portinari portraits, as well as Hugo van der Goes’s Portinari Triptych (Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence) and perhaps a lost Crucifixion.
Tommaso Portinari began working at the Bruges branch of the Medici bank in about 1440, when he was only about twelve years old. Advancing slowly, due to apparent opposition from Cosimo il Vecchio de’ Medici, Portinari did not become the branch manager and a full partner in the bank until 1465. Around the same time, Tommaso held an increasingly privileged position at court, participated in diplomatic affairs, and became a confidant of the future Duke Charles the Bold. By 1464 he was serving as the “faithful councilor” to Philip the Good, a position that he continued when Charles the Bold succeeded Philip at his death in 1467. During Portinari’s tenure at the Medici bank in Bruges, he made large and extremely risky unsecured loans to Duke Charles the Bold that were never fully repaid, eventually leading to the demise of the bank. The Bruges branch closed in 1480, and in 1497 Tommaso and his wife returned to Florence where he died in 1501. Tommaso was buried in the church of Sant’Egidio, on the high altar of which was Hugo van der Goes’s Portinari Triptych. Sant’Egidio was part of the hospital of Santa Maria Nuova.
The Commission: The portraits of Tommaso Portinari and Maria Baroncelli were most likely commissioned around the time of the couple’s wedding in 1470. Originally they formed a triptych with an image of the Virgin between them.
The portraits of Tommaso and Maria, of course, were intended as representations not solely of the couple’s piety; they also express their social status and connections at court. The couple are dressed in the height of fashion. Franke compares the appearance of the Portinaris with that of Charles the Bold and Isabella of Bourbon in two anonymous portraits (mid-sixteenth-century copies of fifteenth-century portraits, Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent; fig. 3), noting that the couples not only resemble each other, but the costumes and haircuts of the men are quite similar, as are the necklaces, necklines, and hennins of the women. Just as the initials of Charles and Isabella decorate the latter's hennin, the initials of Maria and Tommaso were once visible on Maria’s hennin (as discussed below). Maria in particular wears an ostentatious necklace very similar to one worn by Margaret of York, the third wife of Charles the Bold, at her wedding in 1468, which Tommaso and Maria attended (fig. 4).»
Mary I Tudor
The Portrait of a Woman, Sometimes Identified as the Duchess of Suffolk, c.1560 is the same woman as ‘Unknown woman, wearing a cross’ in cloth of silver, nearly half way down your homepage. Thanks.
Cut a long-ish story short: i think it is FG. Thanks.