Portrait of Margherita Gonzaga, Duchess of Lorraine. School of Frans Pourbus the younger 17th century.
Early 17th century
Oil on canvas
Presented in a beautiful Italian frame from the early 17th century, model called "Cassetta" with its original gilding.
Total dimensions : 94 x 80 cm. The canvas alone : 70,3 x 55,8 cm
Like most court portraitists of this period such as Pourbus, the figures are almost always depicted against a dark background, the faces strongly lit highlighting the complexions and refined details of their costumes.
Margaret of Gonzaga or "of Mantua", Duchess of Lorraine, was an Italian princess of the House of Gonzaga, born on October 2, 1591 in Mantua, and died on February 7, 1632 in Nancy.
Elder daughter and fourth child of Vincent I, duke of Mantua and Montferrat, and Eleonora de Medici, herself a daughter of Francis I de Medici. She is thus the niece of Marie de Médicis, the second wife of King Henri IV.
She married, on April 26, 1606 in Nancy (capital of the duchy of Lorraine), Henri II of Lorraine, then marquis of Pont, widower since 1604 of Catherine of Bourbon, sister of King Henri IV of France. They had two children.
Derived with some variations from a model painted in 1612 by Pourbus the Younger, now in the Teatro Olimpico (Vicenza). Our painting was intended to decorate a gallery of portraits of illustrious people as many large houses (especially Italian) had.
There are several versions of this painting.
Frans Pourbus II, known as the Young (Antwerp 1569 - Paris 1622). He became a free master in Antwerp in 1591. From about 1600 he began working for the Archdukes Albert and Isabella in Brussels. From 1600 to 1609 he was a painter for the Gonzagas in Mantua. He traveled to execute works in Innsbruck, Naples, Paris and Turin. Called to Paris in 1609 by Marie de Medici, he became court painter, a title he kept until his death. He enjoyed a European reputation. His early works, painted in Antwerp around 1590, are influenced by his father and Key.
See Blaise Duclos' book "Frans Pourbus the younger" page 286