Portrait of a Young Woman (La Fornarina)1519 by Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino)
The woman in this portrait is traditionally identified as Margherita Luti, Raphael's lover from Rome, who was portrayed in his portrait "La Velata." She is shown here in an Eastern-style hat and with a bare chest. Her gesture, the hand upon her left breast, has caused much of the intrigue around this work. It has been speculated that this reveals a breast tumor in the guise of a gesture of love, or that she is touching the last breast she used to feed her child with Raphael. The band on her arm is a signature, saying RAPHAEL URBINAS. X-ray analysis has revealed that the background was initially a landscape in the vein of Leonardo da Vinci; at some point, however, it was replaced by a large myrtle bush, a symbol of the goddess Venus.
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