Raphael’s portrait of a nude woman, known as “La Fornarina,” is one of his most famous paintings. The woman depicted in the painting was Margherita Luti, Raphael’s lover, and the portrait is an oil-on-panel measuring 86 x 58 cm. It can be found in Room IX of the Borghese Gallery.
The painting has received criticism for showing the woman’s body in a provocative way or being incomplete. However, Raphael achieved total mastery of light and color in this work, making it a prime example of Renaissance art. La Fornarina wears a bracelet with the inscription “Raphael of Urbino” on her forearm hinting that they were secretly married.
La Fornarina also appears in other paintings by Raphael such as “La Velata” and a portrait with a unicorn. The painting gives insight into Raphael’s admiration for both his lover and his art while representing the ideals of beauty during the High Renaissance era.
Overall, Raphael’s portrayal of La Fornarina has become an important piece not only for its unique backstory but also as part of his impressive artistic legacy.