Collection Online

Lucrezia Borgia, Duchess of Ferrara

oil on wood panel
74.5 × 57.2 cm
Place/s of Execution
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1966
© Public Domain
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
16th & 17th Century Gallery - Painting and Sculpture
Mezzanine linked to Level 1, NGV International

The recent identification of the subject of this painting as Lucrezia Borgia (1480–1519) answered a long-running mystery. Borgia married Alfonso d’Este, heir to the duchy of Ferrara, in 1502. In doing so, she farewelled the tumultuous affairs of the Borgia papacy, and settled into the highly cultured environment of Renaissance Ferrara. This portrait is flush with references to classical Antiquity: it contains symbolic references to Venus and the ancient Roman heroine Lucretia, and is thematically united by its Latin inscription, ‘brighter [than beauty] is the virtue reigning in this beautiful body’, a sophisticated adaptation of a verse from Virgil’s Aeneid.