The present portrait likely dates from the 1620s, when the artist was still in Rome. While most of his work from that period consists of large-scale, religious compositions, he also completed a number of easel paintings, usually single-figure portraits, often using his family members as models. There are at least two other works similar to the present painting, and historians previously believed the face in all three portraits to be that of his wife, Virginia da Vezzo, whom he married in 1626, one year before his departure for Rome.1 Her distinguished Mediterranean features—large, black curls and dark, somber eyes—are recognizable in various Vouet paintings, most notably The Circumcision in 1622.2
The woman in the present painting was traditionally thought to also be Vouet's wife, given her similar features. However, a painting by Vouet recently on the Parisian art market and featuring the same woman has altered this identification. That painting came from the dal Pozzo collection and, as with many works from that collection, bears a Latin inscription on the reverse, which identifies the sitter as Ursula da Vezzo, the sister of Virginia and sister-in-law to Vouet.3
1. See J-P. Cuzin, "Jeunes gens par Simon Vouet et quelques autres. Notes sur Vouet portraitiste en Italie," La Revue du Louvre et des Musées de France, 1979, n°1, p. 19.
2. Naples, Eglise Sant'Angelo a Segno (now at the Museo di Capodimonte). See J. Thullier, Vouet, Paris 1990, cat. no. 14, illus. p. 211.
3. The Latin inscription reads: URSULA VULGO LA CURSORA SIMON VOET QUAM DEPERIBAT PINXIT
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale