The son of a goldsmith, Bernardino Campi began his artistic training in his native Cremona. Period sources indicate that he was an active portraitist in the major capitals of northern Italy, but few of these likenesses survive and almost none of their sitters have been identified with any certainty. The stately reserve of this woman, dressed in finery with an elaborate fan in one hand and a little dog under the other, is difficult to reconcile with the printed poems that praised Bernardino’s sitters as being so lifelike and filled with vitality that dogs and children responded to them as if they were alive.
This painting was seized by the Nazis from Baron Karl Neuman (Charles Neuman de Végvár) in Paris and restituted to him by 1947.
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Title:Portrait of a Woman
Artist:Bernardino Campi (Italian, Cremona 1522–1591 Reggio Emilia)
Medium:Oil on canvas
Dimensions:55 5/8 x 38 1/4 in. (141.3 x 97.2 cm)
Credit Line:Gift of Edith Neuman de Végvár, in honor of her husband, Charles Neuman de Végvár, 1963
?[art market, Berlin, by 1927–at least 1928]; private collection, Berlin (in 1933); [Galerie Sanct Lucas, Vienna, until 1938; exchanged with Neuman]; Baron Karl Neuman (Charles Neuman de Végvár), Vienna, later Greenwich, Conn. (1938–d. 1959; seized in Paris by the Nazis, held at Alt Aussee [1267/2] and at Munich collecting point , returned to France October 30, 1946; restituted); his widow, Mrs. Charles (Edith) Neuman de Végvár, Greenwich (1959–63)
[New York?]. Best & Co. November 18–29, 1963, no catalogue?
Staten Island Community College. October 9–12, 1969, no catalogue?
Cremona. Museo Civico and Santa Maria della Pietà, Vecchio Ospedale. "I Campi e la cultura artistica cremonese del Cinquecento," April 27–July 27, 1985, no. 1.15.8.
A[dolfo]. Venturi. Storia dell'arte italiana. Vol. 9, part 6, La pittura del Cinquecento. Milan, 1933, p. 917, fig. 565, as in a private collection, Berlin; notes a relation to the work of Campi's student Sofonisba Anguissola and to Moroni.
[Claus Virch]. Paintings in the Collection of Charles and Edith Neuman de Végvár. [New York], , p. 4.
Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 41, 531, 609.
Robert Miller inI Campi e la cultura artistica cremonese del Cinquecento. Exh. cat., Museo Civico, Cremona Santa Maria della Pietà, Vecchio Ospedale. Milan, 1985, pp. 161–62, no. 1.15.8, ill., compares the composition to a type created by Titian.
Federico Zeri with the assistance of Elizabeth E. Gardner. Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, North Italian School. New York, 1986, p. 7, pl. 72, date it after 1556, perhaps to the late 1560s based on the costume; relate it in style to the work of Sofonisba Anguissola.
Old Master Paintings. Sotheby's, New York. January 11, 1990, unpaginated, under no. 32.
Angela Ghirardi. "Per Bernardino Campi ritrattista." Quaderni di Palazzo Te, n.s., 1 (1994), pp. 79–80, fig. 3, calls it one of three portraits securely attributed to Campi.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 106, ill., as "Portrait of a Woman".
Nicholas Penny. The Sixteenth Century Italian Paintings. Vol. 1, Paintings from Bergamo, Brescia and Cremona. London, 2004, p. 32.
Renaissance. Christie's, New York. January 28, 2015, p. 100, under no. 130.
Michael Cole. Sofonisba's Lesson: A Renaissance Artist and Her Work. Princeton, 2019, p. 222, no. 108, ill. (color).
This picture has been flattened by lining. The surface, with the exception of the embroidered areas and the scarf, is also disfigured by abrasion; this is particularly noticeable in the light areas, the flesh, and the bodice. [from Zeri and Gardner 1986]
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