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Article

Lady at Her Toilette by Giulio Romano – Fornarina of Moscow or Venus of Mantua?

Artibus&Historiae. 2020.
Nazarova O.

In recent decades the social history of art has revealed that virtually no piece of art in the Renaissance was created just because of a painter’s intention or desire.  It was an expensive undertaking and normally had a commission with the commissioner’s expectations behind it.   Renaissance art works have conventional meanings and functions which are not always evident to  contemporary viewers. Research on meaning and function ­– these two basics are deeply imbedded in the historical context – has dramatically changed our understanding of many central artworks, such as Venus of Urbino by Titian or Primavera by Botticcelli.  Few attempts  have been made to define the possible function of Lady at her Toilette by Giulio Romano from the Moscow Pushkin State Museum. The issues of why and under what circumstances this enigmatic painting was created have not received much scholarly attention. Issues of its function have not been addressed directly – few scholars have questioned why it was created. The present study aims at defining the meaning, the function and the possible patron of this painting.