Portrait of a Woman

Quinten Massys Netherlandish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 612

Playing with the conventions of portraiture, Massys depicts his sitter as though she has been distracted from her illuminated prayer book by something outside the frame. The illusionistic columns flanking the woman make her appear to occupy a real space. Once paired with a portrait of a man, now in a private collection, this painting daringly presents its sitter in a fleeting moment of intense focus, heightening her individuality.

Portrait of a Woman, Quinten Massys (Netherlandish, Leuven 1466–1530 Antwerp), Oil on wood

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