Famous for their new treatment of heroic, antique subjects and the depiction of the male nude in action, Antonio and Piero del Pollaiuolo ran one of the most successful and advanced workshops in fifteenth-century Florence. Antonio and Piero Pollaiuolo had a workshop in Florence patronized by Medici. In the Florentine workshop of the Pollauiolo brothers were made some of the most distinguished female portraits in the third quarter of the fifteenth century.
Some of the most distinguished female portraits produced in Florence in the third quarter of the fifteenth century seem to have originated in the workshop of Antonio and Piero del Pollaiuolo.
The present portrait is described to Piero del Pollaiuolo on the strength of its similarity to six panels of Virtues painted for the Mercanzia. The paint surface is much damaged, and the background, the dress, and the surrounding frame have been extensively restored.Stylistically this painting closely resembles three other profile portraits attributed to the Pollaiuoli (Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan; Gemäldegalerie, Berlin; Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence).
According to Ref. Knoedler 1940, there was at that time an old exhibition label on the back of the panel, which read: “No. 70. A female head, most beautifully drawn, said to be the portrait of Beatrice, the mistress of Dante” , and under that description formed a point of attraction in a distinguished exhibition in Paris.
A photograph of this work as it appeared in 1928 has an attribution to Domencio Veneziano written on the back.
Original article source: Traveling in Tuscany