La Belle Ferronniere is an exquisite portrait of a lady, often attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, completed between 1490-1495. It is considered one of his most accomplished portraits due to its beautiful modeling of the face. The painting’s subject is named after the small piece of headwear she wears, called a “Ferronnière,” which sits centrally on her forehead.
The model’s identity remains shrouded in mystery, with various theories proposed over the years. Some suggest that she may have been a mistress or lover of Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan and patron of da Vinci at the time. Others speculate that she might be Beatrice d’Este, who was married to Sforza’s nephew and was known for her exceptional beauty.
Despite her unknown identity, La Belle Ferronniere continues to capture the attention and admiration of art enthusiasts worldwide with its delicate details and masterful composition. The sitter wears a narrow headband with a jewel attached to it that draws attention to her captivating eyes and serene expression.
Today, La Belle Ferronniere resides in the Louvre Museum in Paris where it remains one of their most prized possessions. Its striking beauty has solidified its place as an icon in Renaissance portraiture and as one of Leonardo da Vinci’s artistic triumphs.