Lucrezia Agliardi Vertova (1490?–1558)

Giovanni Battista Moroni Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 612

As the Latin inscription tells us, Abbess Lucrezia Agliardi Vertova founded the Carmelite convent of Saint Anne at Albino, outside Bergamo. This remarkably unidealized portrait of the widowed abbess hung there for centuries. Instead of concealing her old age and modest dress, Moroni celebrates them in stark terms to highlight her virtuous abandonment of earthly concerns in favor of spiritual devotion. Moroni was so famous for the naturalism of his portraits that the Venetian artist Titian singled him out for that quality, and his paintings were an important precursor to Caravaggio’s revolutionary naturalism, which he began developing while living in Lombardy.

Lucrezia Agliardi Vertova (1490?–1558), Giovanni Battista Moroni (Italian, Albino, no later than 1524–1578 Albino), Oil on canvas

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