17th Century & Flemish Paintings Gallery Level 2, NGV International
As the foremost Flemish painter of the sixteenth century, Antonis Mor spent much time travelling between Antwerp, Augsburg, Rome and Madrid working for Europe’s aristocracy. His chief patron was Philip II of Spain. The identity of the woman in this portrait is unknown, but she is depicted with a formality and piercing insight into character typical of Mor. Her gleaming black gown is significant; black-dyed fabrics were expensive and faded quickly, and were thus reserved for special occasions. Of Flemish design, the gown may indicate the portrait’s Flemish origin, and a possible dating of 1555–60, when Mor lived in Brussels and Utrecht.