Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Title: Bianca Maria Sforza
  • Creator: Giovanni Ambrogio de Predis, painter
  • Description: Bianca, the daughter of Ludovica Sforza, wears a richly embroidered dress with a bejeweled belt and a bejeweled headdress. Her long hair is braided and wound with pearls and precious silk and she wears a necklace made of large pearls and a bejeweled pendant. Portraits in which the female sitter displayed her material wealth were typically commissioned at the time of her wedding or as a commemoration of the event. Bianca married Emperor Maximilian I in 1494. Rendering the female sitter in profile drew from the majesty of classical portraiture but also served an ideological purpose: the woman's beauty and confident expression make her the embodiment of humanist virtue, in which outer beauty reflects inner merit, but her gaze is averted from the (likely male) viewer, thus encoding a sense of voyeurism into the work.
  • Source: WikiMedia Commons
  • Rights: Public domain
  • Subject (See Also): Nuptial Imagery Profile Portraits Sforza, Bianca Maria, Wife of Emperor Maximilian I
  • Geographic Area: Italy
  • Century: 15
  • Date: ca. 1493
  • Related Work:
  • Current Location: Washington D.C., National Gallery of Art, 1942.9.53
  • Original Location:
  • Artistic Type (Category): Digital images; Paintings
  • Artistic Type (Material/Technique): Panel paintings; Oil
  • Donor:
  • Height/Width/Length(cm): 51cm/32.5cm/
  • Inscription: On Bianca's headdress is the Sforza motto: MERITO ET TEMPORE [With Merit and Time]
  • Related Resources: