This is the earliest surviving double portrait in Italy, the first to show the sitters in a domestic setting, and the first with a view onto a landscape. The woman, dressed luxuriously ala francese, her sleeve embroidered with letters spelling "faithful" (lealta), is observed by a man—her betrothed or lucky possessor?—appearing at a window, his hands on an identifying coat of arms. The two figures may be Lorenzo di Ranieri Scolari and Angiola di Bernardo Sapiti, who were married about 1439. Lippi’s task was complicated by the Italian preference for the profile view. For more information on this landmark work, see metmuseum.org/collections.
#5058. Portrait of a Woman with a Man at a Casement
This is one of the defining works of Italian portraiture: the earliest surviving double portrait, the first to place the female sitter in a notional interior, and the first to include a landscape background. Each of these novelties was to be taken up and developed by artists only later in the century. Lippi has left us a number of altarpieces that include donor portraits, and these allow us confidently to date this work to about 1440–44, contemporary with the Annunciation in the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome. That altarpiece also provides close analogies for the landscape seen through a window. Although there is the possibility that the picture was commissioned to celebrate the birth of a child, the sumptuous clothes and many rings worn by the woman are appropriate for a bride, as is the motto lealtà (loyalty) embroidered in gold threads and seed pearls on her ermine-lined sleeve. The male is no less expensively garbed in scarlet and wears a hat designating his high social rank. On the basis of the coat of arms displayed by the male sitter, Breck (1913) tentatively identified the couple as the Florentine Lorenzo di Ranieri Scolari (a relation of the celebrated general Pippo Spano) and Angiola di Bernardo Sapiti, who are usually said to have been married in 1436 (see Pompeo Litta, Familie celebri di italia, Milan, 1819–83, fasc. LXVII , disp. 122, tav. I and IV). Recently, however, Katalin Prajda (2013) has rejected this identification and has proposed that the coat of arms upon which the male figure's hands rest belongs to the woman rather than the man. Prajda suggests identifying the sitters as Francesca di Matteo Scolari (ca. 1424–after 1481) and Bonaccorso di Luca Pitti (born ca. 1418 or 1420), who were married by 1444, and notes that Francesca's father-in-law, Luca di Bonaccorso Pitti, may have commissioned the work.
In this innovative portrait, Lippi retains the conventional profile view of both sitters but includes their hands. As with most later portraits, he situates the female in a domestic interior, the box-like shape and steeply foreshortened ceiling of which are plainly adopted from depictions of the Madonna and Child (Donatello's so-called Pazzi Madonna in the Bodemuseum, Berlin, and Scheggia's Madonna and Child with Two Angels in the Museo Horne, Florence). By contrast, the male stands outside the room, gazing through a lateral window opening, while a second window offers a view onto a landscape that, it has been suggested, may record property belonging to the family.
The degree to which Lippi has generalized the features of the sitters is as notable as the implausibility of the "room" that encases the woman. One need only compare their features with the portraits he includes in the roughly contemporary Coronation of the Virgin (Uffizi, Florence) to see the extent to which detailed physiognomic description has been suppressed. The difference in intent comes to the fore if Lippi's portrait is compared to Petrus Christus's 1446 portrait of Edward Grimston (collection of Lord Verulam, on loan to the National Gallery, London), in which the highly individualized sitter is placed in a far more plausible room, with careful attention to the light falling through the panes of a circular leaded-glass window. This comparison is important, since there has been a persistent attempt to link Lippi's innovations to his awareness of Netherlandish practice.
Lippi's two figures occupy different planes in space, with the female figure dominant and the male in a subordinate position—as an observer. Examination with infrared reflectography demonstrates that the artist carefully rethought the placement of the woman's hands, one over the other, to achieve an effect of demure self-possession. More interestingly, the male sitter was initially shown with one hand raised to just below his chin, actively gesturing: he was not simply an observer but an interlocutor.
Baldwin (1986) has emphasized the importance of the gaze in amatory poetry and suggests the pertinence to the picture of a verse from the Song of Solomon (2:9) in which the bridegroom—in Biblical exegeses understood to be Christ—"stands outside our wall, peeping in at the windows, glancing through the lattice." The motif of the lover first seeing his beloved at a window is something of a topos in Renaissance literature. In Lippi's portrait the elaborately coiffed and dressed woman is offered not only to the possessive gaze of her male suitor-husband, but to the admiration of the viewer.
Wright (2000) is surely correct that the sharply defined shadow cast by the male sitter onto the back wall relates to Pliny's well-known account of the origin of painting, in which a lover traces the contours of the shadow cast by his beloved (Natural History 35.5.15, 43.151). Quintilian, too, refers to this story (Institutio oratoria 10.2.7), to which Leon Battista Alberti makes reference in his treatise on painting, De pictura. Quintilian cites the story as a criticism of art as mere imitation. The shadow can thus be understood not only as a record of the lover's features, but as an invitation to read the picture as a poetic conceit—something we would expect from the artist described by Cristoforo Landino as "artificioso sopra modo" (artful beyond measure)—in his 1480 commentary to the Divine Comedy.
Viewed in this way, Lippi's innovations suggest the intention to create a visual analogue to the conceits of Petrarchan poetry. The picture asserts portraiture as a poetic evocation rather than a mere commemoration of a betrothal, marriage, or birth; an idealized representation rather than a record of the actual appearance of the sitters.
[Keith Christiansen 2014]
Inscription: Inscribed (edge of woman's cuff): lealt[a] (loyalty)
Rev. John Sanford, Nynehead Court, Wellington, Somerset, and London (bought in Florence; about 1829–d. 1855; inv., n.d., no. 167, as by Masaccio; cat., 1847, no. 1; bequeathed to Methuen); Frederick Henry Paul, 2nd Baron Methuen, Corsham Court, Chippenham, Wiltshire (1855–83; sold to Marquand); Henry G. Marquand, New York (1883–89)
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Winter Exhibition," 1877, no. 181 (as by Masaccio, lent by Lord Methuen).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Exhibition of 1888–89," 1888–89, no. 24 (as "Female Head," by Masaccio).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Florentine Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum," June 15–August 15, 1971, no catalogue.
Washington. National Gallery of Art. "Virtue and Beauty: Leonardo's Ginevra de' Benci and Renaissance Portraits of Women," September 30, 2001–January 6, 2002, no. 3.
Milan. Pinacoteca di Brera. "Fra Carnevale: un artista rinascimentale da Filippo Lippi a Piero della Francesca," October 13, 2004–January 9, 2005, no. 4.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "From Filippo Lippi to Piero della Francesca: Fra Carnevale and the Making of a Renaissance Master," February 1–May 1, 2005, no. 4.
London. Victoria and Albert Museum. "At Home in Renaissance Italy," October 6, 2006–January 7, 2007, no. 141.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art and Love in Renaissance Italy," November 11, 2008–February 16, 2009, no. 118.
Fort Worth. Kimbell Art Museum. "Art and Love in Renaissance Italy," March 15–June 14, 2009, no. 118.
Bode Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. "Gesichter der Renaissance: Meisterwerke italienischer Portrait-Kunst," August 25–November 20, 2011, no. 6.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Renaissance Portrait from Donatello to Bellini," December 21, 2011–March 18, 2012, no. 6.
Catalogue of Paintings Purchased by the Rev. John Sanford During his Residence in Italy: 1830 and Following Years. n.d., no. 167 [see Ref. Nicolson 1955], attributes it to Masaccio.
Catalogue Raisonné of Pictures etc. the Property of the Rev. John Sanford. London, 1847, no. 1 [see Ref. Nicolson 1955], as "purchased at Florence"; attributes it to Masaccio.
Exhibition of Works by the Old Masters and by Deceased Masters of the British School. Exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts. London, 1877, p. 33, no. 181, attributes it to Masaccio and says the man "holds an escutcheon bearing the arms of the Portanari [sic] family, the founders of the hospital at Florence".
W. Bode. "Alte Kunstwerke in den Sammlungen der Vereinigten Staaten." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, n.s., 6, no. 1 (1895), p. 17, attributes it to Cosimo Rosselli.
B[ernard]. Berenson. "Les peintures italiennes de New-York et de Boston." Gazette des beaux-arts, 3rd ser., 15 (March 1896), p. 200, tentatively attributes it to Paolo Uccello.
Bernhard Berenson. The Florentine Painters of the Renaissance. New York, 1896, p. 129, tentatively lists it as by Uccello.
Catalogue of the Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1905, p. 115, no. 256, assigns it to the school of Masaccio, and identifies the arms as those of the Portinari.
Bernhard Berenson. The Florentine Painters of the Renaissance. 3rd ed. New York, 1909, p. 186, calls it "Profiles of Woman and Man of Portinari Family," by Uccello.
Joseph Breck. "A Double Portrait by Fra Filippo Lippi." Art in America 2 (December 1913), pp. 44–55, fig. 1, attributes it to Filippo Lippi, dates it about 1440, and suggests that it represents Lorenzo di Ranieri Scolari and his wife Angiola di Bernardo Sapiti; compares it with the Portrait of a Lady by Lippi in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin.
Bryson Burroughs. Catalogue of Paintings. 1st ed. New York, 1914, p. 131, as Florentine, second quarter of the fifteenth century.
Frank Jewett Mather, Jr. "Letter to the editor." Art in America 2 (February 1914), pp. 169–70, confirms Breck's identification of the sitters, but rejects the attribution to Lippi, considering it closer to Domenico Veneziano; dates it 1444.
Joseph Breck. "Letter to the editor." Art in America 2 (February 1914), pp. 170–73, dates it 1436.
Wilhelm Bode. "Letter to the editor." Art in America 2 (June 1914), p. 322, accepts Breck's [see Ref. 1914] attribution and dating.
Frank Jewett Mather, Jr. "Letter to the editor." Art in America 2 (August 1914), p. 379.
August Schmarsow. Sandro del Botticello. Dresden, 1923, pp. 54–56, attributes it to Botticelli, regarding it as the earliest of a group of portraits executed when he was still studying with Filippo Lippi.
Raimond van Marle. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. Vol. 10, The Renaissance Painters of Florence in the 15th Century. The Hague, 1928, pp. 237, 240, 459–60 n. 2, fig. 156, tentatively attributes it to Uccello but lists it with works "that might possibly be ascribed to Fra Filippo".
[Georg] Gronau inAllgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Ed. Hans Vollmer. Vol. 23, Leipzig, 1929, p. 273, lists it as by Lippi.
Philippe Soupault. Paolo Uccello. Paris, 1929, pp. 21–23, 26, pl. VIII, attributes it to Uccello and compares it with a portrait in the National Gallery, London.
Lionello Venturi. "Paolo Uccello." L'arte 33 (January 1930), p. 69 n. 1, attributes it to the School of Filippo Lippi.
Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 288, lists it as "A Medici (?) Bride and her Husband, a Portinari"; considers it in great part the work of Lippi.
B[ernard]. Berenson. "Fra Angelico, Fra Filippo, e la cronologia." Bollettino d'arte 26 (August 1932), pp. 53, 66, fig. 36, attributes it to Lippi, possibly assisted by a helper, and dates it about 1448.
Mario Salmi. Paolo Uccello, Andrea del Castagno, Domenico Veneziano. Rome, , p. 87 [French ed., 1937, p. 94], includes it in a list of works with questionable attributions to Uccello.
Georg Pudelko. "Florentiner Porträts der Frührenaissance." Pantheon 15 (January–June 1935), p. 96, ill. p. 95, attributes it to Lippi and dates it about 1440.
Bernhard Berenson. Pitture italiane del rinascimento. Milan, 1936, p. 247, assigns it to Lippi's late period.
Jean Lipman. "The Florentine Profile Portrait in the Quattrocento." Art Bulletin 18 (March 1936), p. 68 n. 23, pp. 88, 91, 96, 101, fig. 10, lists it as by Lippi's shop, with portraits that date 1450–75; compares the landscape with those of Uccello.
Georg Pudelko. "Per la datazione delle opere di Fra Filippo Lippi." Rivista d'arte 18 (1936), p. 67 n. 2, considers it similar to and contemporaneous with Lippi's Annunciation in the Palazzo Venezia, Rome, and calls it probably a portrait of Scolari and his wife.
F. Mason Perkins. Letter. March 24, 1938, attributes it to an artist closely connected with Uccello.
Richard Offner. "The Barberini Panels and their Painter." Medieval Studies in Memory of A. Kingsley Porter. Ed. Wilhelm R. W. Koehler. Vol. 1, Cambridge, Mass., 1939, p. 220, fig. 12., ascribes it to an artist in Lippi's shop, comparing the woman with one in Fra Carnevale's Birth of the Virgin (MMA 35.121).
Harry B. Wehle. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings. New York, 1940, pp. 29–30, ill., attributes it to an assistant in Lippi's shop, and dates it shortly before the middle of the fifteenth century; states that it may be a marriage portrait of Lorenzo Scolari and his wife.
Robert Oertel. Fra Filippo Lippi. Vienna, 1942, pp. 48, 76, fig. 119, attributes it to Lippi, dates it not later than 1440, and calls it a marriage portrait probably showing the Scolari coat of arms.
Millia Davenport. The Book of Costume. New York, 1948, vol. 1, pp. 250, 252, no. 703, ill. p. 251 (cropped).
Luigi Coletti. Letter. December 29, 1949, tentatively suggests placing it in the very early period of Domenico Veneziano.
Mary Pittaluga. Filippo Lippi. Florence, 1949, p. 209, fig. 73, attributes it to Lippi and dates it towards the end of the 1450s.
r[oberto]. l[onghi]. "Quadri italiani di Berlino a Sciaffusa (1951)." Paragone 3 (September 1952), p. 43, dates it before the female portrait in Berlin, which he places about 1450, and observes the Flemish character of the background.
Ludwig Goldscheider. Letter to Margaretta Salinger. October 7, 1954, tentatively accepts Schmarsow's attribution to Botticelli and dates it about 1459–60, when Botticelli was the assistant of Fra Filippo at Prato; identifies the arms as those of Francesco di Marco Datini, indicating that the man might be one of Francesco's grandsons.
Benedict Nicolson. "The Sanford Collection." Burlington Magazine 97 (July 1955), pp. 208–9, 213, no. 29, attributes it to Lippi and quotes manuscript catalogues of the Sanford collection in which it was attributed to Masaccio.
Millard Meiss in "Jan van Eyck and the Italian Renaissance." Venezia e l'Europa: atti del XVIII congresso internazionale di storia dell'arte. Venice, 1956, p. 63, fig. 11, considers it the earliest Italian portrait showing a betrothed couple in a domestic setting, and mentions Netherlandish examples of this type.
Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Florentine School. London, 1963, vol. 1, p. 113.
John Pope-Hennessy. The Portrait in the Renaissance. Princeton, 1966, pp. 41, 44, 48, 59, 309 n. 63, fig. 41, calls it the earliest female profile portrait and attributes it to Lippi, dating it about 1440.
Josée Mambour. "L'évolution esthétique des profils florentins du Quattrocento." Revue belge d'archéologie et d'histoire de l'art 38 (1969), p. 47, fig. 2, dates it about 1435–40.
Bernard Berenson. Homeless Paintings of the Renaissance. Ed. Hanna Kiel. Bloomington, 1970, pp. 233, 253, fig. 407 [same text as Ref. Berenson (Bollettino d'arte) 1932].
Federico Zeri with the assistance of Elizabeth E. Gardner. Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Florentine School. New York, 1971, pp. 85–87, ill., date it shortly after the beginning of the 1440s, suggest that it was an engagement or marriage portrait, and identify the man as a member of the Scolari family.
Everett Fahy. "Florentine Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum: An Exhibition and a Catalogue." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 29 (June 1971), p. 434, ill., dates it early in Lippi's career, about 1440–45.
Everett Fahy. "Letter from New York: Florentine Paintings at the Metropolitan." Apollo 94 (August 1971), p. 152, fig. 3.
Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi inL'opera completa di Paolo Uccello. Milan, 1971, p. 102, no. 87, ill., includes it among pictures formerly attributed to Uccello.
Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 106, 522, 605.
Bernard Berenson. Looking at Pictures with Bernard Berenson. Ed. Hanna Kiel. New York, 1974, pp. 154–55, ill. [same text as Ref. Berenson (Bollettino d'arte) 1932].
Giuseppe Marchini. Filippo Lippi. Milan, 1975, pp. 96, 103, 167, 203–4, no. 19, fig. 38.
Francis Ames-Lewis. "Fra Filippo Lippi and Flanders." Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 42 (1979), p. 269, fig. 16, dates it about 1440 and notes a relation to Flemish painting.
Sheldon Grossman. "Ghirlandaio's 'Madonna and Child' in Frnakfurt and Leonardo's Beginnings as a Painter." Städel-Jahrbuch, n.s., 7 (1979), pp. 117, 125 nn. 47–48, fig. 25, discusses its influence on Ghirlandaio.
John Pope-Hennessy and Keith Christiansen. "Secular Painting in 15th-Century Tuscany: Birth Trays, Cassone Panels, and Portraits." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 38 (Summer 1980), pp. 56–57, 59–61, fig. 50, ill. front and back covers (color, overall and detail), believe it was inspired by a Flemish painting and possibly commissioned to commemorate the birth of Ranieri Scolari to Lorenzo Scolari and Angiola di Bernardo Sapiti in 1444; call it "the earliest Italian double portrait in the true sense, and . . . among the earliest European portraits with a domestic setting".
Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, pp. 227, 232–33, fig. 404 (color).
Jeffrey Ruda. Filippo Lippi Studies: Naturalism, Style and Iconography in Early Renaissance Art. PhD diss., Harvard University. New York, 1982, p. 36 n. 40, pp. 102, 129 n. 19, p. 131 n. 39, challenges the proposed connection with early Flemish wedding portraits, stating that "the betrothal scene is another case of Flemish and Italian artists dealing with the same new pictorial subject in ignorance of each other's solutions".
Liana Castelfranchi Vegas. Italia e Fiandra nella pittura del quattrocento. Milan, 1983, p. 192, observes that the interior setting is of Flemish taste; relates it to other works by Lippi influenced by Flemish painting.
Roberto Salvini. Banchieri fiorentini e pittori di Fiandria. Modena, 1984, pp. 14–15, 56, fig. 20, discusses the link with Flemish painting, emphasizing the influence of Jan van Eyck.
Jeffrey Ruda. "Flemish Painting and the Early Renaissance in Florence: Questions of Influence." Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 47, no. 1 (1984), pp. 224–25, fig. 12, rejects the supposed connection with Flemish painting; states that it may commemorate a betrothal or wedding, or the birth of a son.
John Pope-Hennessy. "Roger Fry and The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Oxford, China, and Italy: Writings in Honour of Sir Harold Acton on his Eightieth Birthday. Ed. Edward Chaney and Neil Ritchie. London, 1984, p. 231.
Sixten Ringbom. "Filippo Lippis New Yorker Doppelporträt: Eine Deutung der Fenstersymbolik." Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 48, no. 2 (1985), pp. 133–37, fig. 1, discusses the window format and compares it to dedication miniatures in manuscripts; finds the lack of psychological contact between the man and woman difficult to understand in the context of an engagement, marriage, or birth of an heir; suggests instead a connection to the Song of Solomon, 2:9 ("behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows . . . ").
Robert Baldwin. "'Gates Pure and Shining and Serene': Mutual Gazing as an Amatory Motif in Western Literature and Art." Renaissance and Reformation, n.s., 10, no. 1 (1986), pp. 30, 33, 35, 46 n. 35, fig. 1, interprets the proposed reference to the Song of Solomon as indicative of the couple's sacramental love based on the mystical marriage of Christ to the church; dates it about 1445.
Robert Baldwin. "A Window from the Song of Songs in Conjugal Portraits by Fra Filippo Lippi and Bartholomäus Zeitblom." Source: Notes in the History of Art 5 (Winter 1986), pp. 7–14, fig. 1, suggests it is a conjugal portrait, relating the window motif to a verse in the Song of Solomon (2:9) and to various exegetical works.
Dieter Jansen. "Fra Filippo Lippis Doppelbildnis im New Yorker Metropolitan Museum." Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch 48/49 (1987–88), pp. 97–121, fig. 1, argues that the headdress worn by the woman, a symbol of her noble rank, places the portrait in the 1460s, concluding that it cannot be associated with the marriage of Angiola Sapiti and Lorenzo Scolari in 1436; identifies the woman as Yolande de France, duchess of Savoy and Piedmont; suggests that Giacomo Ferrero d'Ormea, Capitano dei Cavalli in service to Yolande, whose coat of arms matches that in the portrait, might have commissioned it in 1467 as an expression of his loyalty to her.
"Renaissance Revisionism: A Fra Filippo Lippi Portrait in the Met is Re-read." Journal of Art 1 (February–March 1989), p. 29, supports Jansen's [see Ref. 1987] identification of the sitters.
Brigitte Tietzel. "Neues vom 'Meister des Schafsnasen': Überlegungen zum New Yorker Doppelbildnis des florentiner Quattrocento." Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch 52 (1991), pp. 17–42, fig. 1, rejects Jansen's [see Ref. 1987] dating and identification of the sitters, finding the intimacy between them and the inclusion of only the man's coat of arms unlikely for a depiction of Yolande de France and Giacomo Ferrero d'Ormea; accepts that it may be a marriage or betrothal portrait of Lorenzo Scolari and Angiola Sapiti, but challenges the connection to Lippi, offering a tentative attribution and dating to Piero della Francesca, about 1435.
Patricia Simons. "Women in Frames: The Gaze, the Eye, the Profile in Renaissance Portraiture." The Expanding Discourse: Feminism and Art History. Ed. Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard. New York, 1992, pp. 43, 50, 54 n. 37, fig. 3.
Jeffrey Ruda. Fra Filippo Lippi: Life and Work, with a Complete Catalogue. London, 1993, pp. 71, 85, 88, 130, 182, 277, 350 n. 19 (from p. 349), pp. 379, 385–86, 413, 468, 510–11, no. 16, colorpls. 45–46 (overall and detail), pl. 217, dates it about 1435–36 on the basis of style, noting that neither the coat of arms nor the woman's costume permit secure dating; believes it is the earliest Italian double portrait, one of the two earliest Italian portraits featuring a woman and a "portrait-like description of architecture and landscape"; rejects the notion that this portrait may be dependent on Netherlandish precedents; notes that the arrangement of a figure within a window frame, gesturing to an ancillary figure placed in an enclosed space, is based on a manuscript convention; states that the woman's death might explain the spatial and pychological separation of the subjects, but finds no other evidence that she might have died.
Miklós Boskovits. Immagini da meditare: ricerche su dipinti di tema religioso nei secoli XII-XV. Milan, 1994, p. 423 n. 38, dates it close to the middle of the fifteenth century.
Frank Zöllner. Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa: Das Porträt der Lisa del Giocondo, Legende und Geschichte. Frankfurt am Main, 1994, pp. 32–33, fig. 14, discusses the hand gestures.
Marga Cottino-Jones. "The Pen and the Brush: Woman Portraiture in the Renaissance." Da una riva e dall'altra: Studi in onore di Antonio d'Andrea. Ed. Dante Della Terza. Florence, 1995, pp. 219–21, fig. 4.
Carole Collier Frick. "Dressing a Renaissance City: Society, Economics and Gender in the Clothing of Fifteenth-Century Florence." PhD diss., University of California at Los Angeles, 1995, p. 403, fig. 48, observes that the woman's sleeves are in the "a gozzi" style, fashionable in fifteenth-century Florence.
Chiara Lachi. Il Maestro della Natività di Castello. Florence, 1995, p. 71, ill. p. 120, as by Lippi; dates it between 1450 and 1470.
Gloria Fossi inIl ritratto: Gli artisti, i modelli, la memoria. Ed. Gloria Fossi. Florence, 1996, p. 63, fig. 79, dates it about 1437.
Dominique Thiébaut in "Un chef-d'œuvre restauré: le 'Portrait d'un vieillard et d'un jeune garçon' de Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449–1494)." Revue du Louvre 46 (June 1996), p. 49, fig. 11.
Petra Kathke. Porträt und Accessoire: Eine Bildnisform im 16. Jahrhundert. Berlin, 1997, pp. 148, 303–4, fig. 98, dates it about 1425/36.
Paola Tinagli. Women in Italian Renaissance Art: Gender, Representation, Identity. Manchester, 1997, pp. 52–53, fig. 14, as attributed to Lippi, about 1435–45; describes the sitters' clothing and calls the work "a commemoration of a woman," noting that engagement or wedding portraits "were most unusual in Florence during the fifteenth century, and there is no evidence at all for portraits commissioned on the occassion of the birth of a child".
Maria Pia Mannini and Marco Fagioli. Filippo Lippi. Florence, 1997, pp. 92–93, no. 12, ill., date it about 1435–36.
Jennifer E. Craven. "A New Historical View of the Independent Female Portrait in Fifteenth-Century Florentine Painting." PhD diss., University of Pittsburgh, 1997, pp. 215–23, no. 2, fig. 2, compares it with another double portrait [sold, Sotheby's, London, November 16, 1955, no. 142; see also M. Boskovits, Arte cristiana 74 (July–August 1986), pp. 239, 249 n. 36, fig. 14] in which the female sitter is dominant, suggesting both works "could be adaptations of a lost double portrait by Lippi, where the context of the picture is a betrothal agreement".
Everett Fahy. "How the Pictures Got Here." From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Maryan W. Ainsworth and Keith Christiansen. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1998, p. 65.
Megan Holmes. Fra Filippo Lippi: The Carmelite Painter. New Haven, 1999, pp. 128–29, 134–35, 268 nn. 59–60, 64, 70, figs. 113, 115 (color, overall and detail), dates it to the early 1440s.
Kathleen Weil-Garris Brandt. Leonardo e la scultura. Florence, 1999, pp. 34–35, fig. 78.
Alison Wright. "The Memory of Faces: Representational Choices in Fifteenth-Century Florentine Portraiture." Art, Memory, and Family in Renaissance Florence. Ed. Giovanni Ciappelli and Patricia Lee Rubin. Cambridge, 2000, p. 96, fig. 15, relates the shadow cast by the man to the remark in Pliny's "Natural History" that portraiture originated with the circumscription of a lover's shadow falling on a wall.
Gigetta Dalli Regoli. Il gesto e la mano: convenzione e invenzione nel linguaggio figurativo fra Medioevo e Rinascimento. [Florence], 2000, pp. 28–29, fig. 35 (detail), dates it about 1460 and calls the attribution unsettled; finds that the man's gesture recalls that of the angel of the Annunciation.
David Alan Brown inVirtue and Beauty: Leonardo's "Ginevra de' Benci" and Renaissance Portraits of Women. Ed. David Alan Brown. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 2001, pp. 106–9, 172, 174 n. 7, p. 190, no. 3, ill. (color, overall and detail), comments that the prominence of the woman in relation to the man might suggest that her family commissioned the work to celebrate her betrothal; dates it about 1438/44 and notes similarities in Botticelli's Woman at a Window (Smeralda Brandini?) in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and Ghirlandaio's portrait of Giovanni degli Albizzi Tornabuoni in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.
Joanna Woods-Marsden inVirtue and Beauty: Leonardo's "Ginevra de' Benci" and Renaissance Portraits of Women. Ed. David Alan Brown. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 2001, pp. 65, 67, 84 n. 22, discusses the woman's dress and remarks that her "decorously bound and restrained" hairstyle indicates she is married and no longer betrothed.
Roberta Orsi Landini and Mary Westerman Bulgarella inVirtue and Beauty: Leonardo's "Ginevra de' Benci" and Renaissance Portraits of Women. Ed. David Alan Brown. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 2001, pp. 93–94, observe that "wearing pearls and rings with precious stones testified to the marital status of the young women portrayed" in portraits of the period.
Carole Collier Frick. Dressing Renaissance Florence: Families, Fortunes, & Fine Clothing. Baltimore, 2002, pp. 192, 194, fig. 9.3.
Miklós Boskovits inItalian Paintings of the Fifteenth Century. Washington, 2003, p. 179 n. 27.
David Alan Brown inItalian Paintings of the Fifteenth Century. Washington, 2003, p. 366 n. 38.
Paula Nuttall. From Flanders to Florence: The Impact of Netherlandish Painting, 1400–1500. New Haven, 2004, pp. 22, 212, 288 nn. 82, 83, colorpl. 227, discusses the numerous Northern elements of the work, including the attention to textures of jewels and textiles, the "fashionable Flemish-style horned headdress" worn by the woman, and the inclusion of the coat of arms, which she finds reminiscent of escutcheons in Netherlandish portraits; agrees that "the composition itself seems to derive from a Northern source, exemplified by the dedicatory miniature of the Lovell Lectionary" [see Ref. Ringbom 1985]; relates it to the double portrait attributed to Lippi [see Ref. Craven 1997] and to an early sixteenth-century German portrait depicting a man addressing a woman through a window [ill. in E. Buchner, "Das deutsche Bildnis der Spätgotik und der frühen Dürerzeit," Berlin, 1953, pl. 207]; calls these works "surviving examples of a double-portrait type used in contexts where sitters needed to be differentiated by status," either of social class or gender, adding that "the formula may have been favored for betrothal portraits".
Carl Brandon Strehlke. Italian Paintings 1250–1450 in the John G. Johnson Collection and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 2004, p. 382 n. 4, dates it after 1440, calling it one of the earliest surviving examples of independent Florentine female profile portraits, but suggests that instead of depicting a married couple, the painting more probably shows "the homage of a man to his idealized or poetical lover".
Keith Christiansen inFrom Filippo Lippi to Piero della Francesca: Fra Carnevale and the Making of a Renaissance Master. Ed. Keith Christiansen. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2005, pp. 52, 147, 150–53, 166, 178, no. 4, ill. (color, overall and detail) [Italian ed., "Fra Carnevale . . . ," Milan, 2004, pp. 52, 147–48, 150–53, 166, 178, no. 4, ill. (color, overall and detail)], dates it about 1440–44 and compares it with an Annunciation (Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome) by Lippi of the early 1440s.
Luke Syson. "Fra Carnevale." Burlington Magazine 147 (February 2005), p. 137.
Alison Wright. The Pollaiuolo Brothers: The Arts of Florence and Rome. New Haven, 2005, pp. 119, 452 nn. 48–49.
Frank Zöllner. Sandro Botticelli. Munich, 2005, pp. 52, 196, discusses it in relation to Botticelli's so-called portrait of Smeralda Bandinelli (Victoria and Albert Museum, London) of about 1471–73.
Luke Syson inAt Home in Renaissance Italy. Ed. Marta Ajmar-Wollheim et al. Exh. cat., Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 2006, pp. 97–98, 361, 374 n. 58, no. 141, colorpl. 6.8, dates it about 1436–38; believes that it is probably the 1436 marriage portrait of Lorenzo Scolari and Angiola Sapiti but adds that "it also presupposes the conception of a child, by showing Angiola in her Virgin's 'thalamus' and turning Lorenzo into a quasi-Gabriel".
Silvana Seidel Menchi. "Cause matrimoniali e iconografia nuziale: annotazioni in margine a una ricerca d'archivio." I tribunali del matrimonio (secoli XV–XVIII). Ed. Silvana Seidel Menchi and Diego Quaglioni. Bologna, 2006, pp. 672–75, fig. 3 (detail), agrees that it was probably commissioned on the occasion of the marriage of Lorenzo di Ranieri Scolari and Angiola di Bernardo Sapiti in 1436; calls the window a third protagonist in the composition, serving to establish communication between the two figures; refers to the two roles played by the figures, the man's active and animated, the woman's quiet and reserved; relates the composition to a portrait of a woman of about 1475 by the school of Botticelli, transformed by later repainting into Saint Catherine (Lindenau Museum, Altenburg).
Barnaby Nygren. "'We first pretend to stand at a certain window': Window as Pictorial Device and Metaphor in the Paintings of Filippo Lippi." Source: Notes in the History of Art 26 (Fall 2006), pp. 16, 20–21, fig. 3, discusses the perspectival metaphor of the open window and states that the MMA painting "demands to be read as a pictorial meditation on the nature of the Albertian perspectival fiction".
Hans Körner. Botticelli. Cologne, 2006, pp. 78–80, 392 n. 302, fig. 82.
Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), pp. 12, 14, fig. 10 (print of Marquand gallery).
Deborah L. Krohn inArt and Love in Renaissance Italy. Ed. Andrea Bayer. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2008, pp. 9, 103, 124, notes that the word "lealta" [loyalty] embroidered on the woman's sleeve refers "to the quality most desired in a wife".
Everett Fahy inArt and Love in Renaissance Italy. Ed. Andrea Bayer. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2008, pp. 18, 26 n. 8, fig. 4 (color detail).
Nancy Edwards inArt and Love in Renaissance Italy. Ed. Andrea Bayer. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2008, pp. 255–56, no. 118, ill. (color), dates it about 1440–44.
Christina Neilson. Parmigianino's "Antea": A Beautiful Artifice. Exh. cat., Frick Collection. New York, 2008, pp. 43–44, 67–68 nn. 301–3, fig. 38 (color), states that the picture probably represents "a knight and the lady to whom he has devoted himself (and who is most certainly therefore not his wife)"; suggests that Lippi deliberately depicted the figures on different planes, with their eyes not meeting, in order to convey unrequited desire.
Paula Bradstreet Richter inWedded Bliss: The Marriage of Art and Ceremony. Exh. cat., Peabody Essex Museum. Salem, Mass., 2008, p. 50, fig. 9 (color).
Hugh Hudson. Paolo Uccello: Artist of the Florentine Renaissance Republic. Saarbrücken, Germany, 2008, pp. 331–32, no. 63, includes it with Rejected Attributions to Uccello, supporting the attribution to Lippi; dates it to about the early 1440s.
Jacqueline Marie Musacchio. Art, Marriage, & Family in the Florentine Renaissance Palace. New Haven, 2008, p. 83, fig. 80 (color).
Anna Rühl inBotticelli: Likeness, Myth, Devotion. Ed. Andreas Schumacher. Exh. cat., Städel Museum. Frankfurt, 2009, p. 190, under no. 15.
Andreas Schumacher inBotticelli: Likeness, Myth, Devotion. Ed. Andreas Schumacher. Exh. cat., Städel Museum. Frankfurt, 2009, p. 30, fig. 16 (color).
Patricia Rubin inThe Renaissance Portrait from Donatello to Bellini. Ed. Keith Christiansen and Stefan Weppelmann. Exh. cat., Bode-Museum, Berlin. New York, 2011, pp. 11, 17–18 [German ed., "Gesichter der Renaissance: Meisterwerke italienischer Portrait-Kunst," Berlin, 2011, pp. 11, 18].
Andrea Bayer, Keith Christiansen, and Stefan Weppelmann inThe Renaissance Portrait from Donatello to Bellini. Ed. Keith Christiansen and Stefan Weppelmann. Exh. cat., Bode-Museum, Berlin. New York, 2011, p. ix [German ed., "Gesichter der Renaissance: Meisterwerke italienischer Portrait-Kunst," Berlin, 2011].
Stefan Weppelmann inThe Renaissance Portrait from Donatello to Bellini. Ed. Keith Christiansen and Stefan Weppelmann. Exh. cat., Bode-Museum, Berlin. New York, 2011, pp. 66, 99–100, 104, 112 [German ed., "Gesichter der Renaissance: Meisterwerke italienischer Portrait-Kunst," Berlin, 2011, pp. 101, 104, 112].
Neville Rowley inThe Renaissance Portrait from Donatello to Bellini. Ed. Keith Christiansen and Stefan Weppelmann. Exh. cat., Bode-Museum, Berlin. New York, 2011, pp. 90, 106 [German ed., "Gesichter der Renaissance: Meisterwerke italienischer Portrait-Kunst," Berlin, 2011].
Keith Christiansen inThe Renaissance Portrait from Donatello to Bellini. Ed. Keith Christiansen and Stefan Weppelmann. Exh. cat., Bode-Museum, Berlin. New York, 2011, pp. 96, 98, no. 6, ill. pp. 85, 97 (color, overall and detail) [German ed., "Gesichter der Renaissance: Meisterwerke italienischer Portrait-Kunst," Berlin, 2011].
Katalin Prajda. "The Coat of Arms in Fra Filippo Lippi's 'Portrait of a Woman with a Man at a Casement'." Metropolitan Museum Journal 48 (2013), pp. 73–80, fig. 3 (color), proposes that the coat of arms upon which the male figure's hands rest belongs to the woman rather than the man, and suggests identifying the sitters as Francesca di Matteo Scolari (ca. 1424–after 1481) and Bonaccorso di Luca Pitti (born ca. 1418 or 1420), who were married in 1444 or before; suggests that Francesca's father-in-law, Luca di Bonaccorso Pitti, may have commissioned the work.
Adrian W. B. Randolph. Touching Objects: Intimate Experiences of Italian Fifteenth-Century Art. New Haven, 2014, pp. 41, 44–45, 96–98, fig. 43 (color).
Kathryn Calley Galitz. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings. New York, 2016, p. 140, no. 131, ill. pp. 109, 140 (color).
J. Russell Sale. "Protecting Fertility in Fra Filippo Lippi's 'Portrait of a Woman with a Man at a Casement'." Metropolitan Museum Journal 51 (2016), pp. 65–83, fig. 1 (color), ill. p. 2 (color detail), identifies the man's gesture as the "mano cornuta" (horned-hand gesture) and discusses its erotic and prophylactic meanings since antiquity; relates the iconography of this picture to that of the Martelli Mirror case (ca. 1470–1510; Victoria and Albert Museum, London), stating that the "mano cornuta" serves the same purpose in both: "to celebrate and protect from the evil eye the reproductive powers of the figures represented".
J. Russell Sale. Email to Keith Christiansen. March 28, 2017, provides a bibliography of Italian medieval ecclesiastical mosaic ensembles that include the mano-cornuta gesture, and an example in Buddhist art of the Karana mudra, a similar hand gesture with similar meaning.