Portrait of Barbara Kressin

An inscription in the upper right corner identifies the elegant young woman seen in three-quarter view as Barbara Kressin, aged seventeen, and the date of the likeness as 1544.Barbara’s sober and subtly ornamented black gown serves as a magnificent foil for accoutrements which convey her wealth and social standing: the embroidered collar, blackwork cuffs, heavy gold chain, and the long gold girdle around her waist. The soft leather gloves she gently clasps, decorated with flowers may, along with the rings on her forefinger and the girdle, refer to her marriage. While Barbara Kressin has been associated with the Nuremberg family of the same name, her identity cannot be confirmed. The naturalism of the sitter’s face and hands, together with the close attention to the details of costume, suggest the as-yet unidentified artist hails from the Netherlands.

Oil on canvas (1544)

by Unknown maker, Netherlandish Master, active Germany

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