Object Image

A Man embracing a Woman

This picture is made up of fragments from a circular painting (tondo) that was originally part of a ceiling decoration. It was commissioned in 1524 by Alfonso d'Este, Duke of Ferrara, for his castle in Ferrara. Originally it had five figures. The other surviving fragment, Boy with a Basket of Flowers, is now in the Fondazione Longhi in Florence. All knowledge of the original meaning of the painting has been lost.

In the National Gallery's picture the figures are painted as if seen from below. The woman, whose blonde curls are crowned with a wreath of jasmine, appears to be speaking or singing. The surviving fragment of her hand suggests she was perhaps about to drop something into our space be...

Oil on poplar
55.1 x 75.5cm
Image and text © The National Gallery, London, 2023

Where you'll find this