Isabella is dressed in the colours of the old kingdom of Naples: Yellow and Black, which in her times were used for the dukedom of Calabria and of Bari; on her headgear we can see one of the symbols of the House of the Sforza: the double-knot or double-bow, and beneath her left hand we can see one of the most important symbols of the House of the Visconti-Sforza: the cross and on it the wide-open mouth of a dragon-like viper which is swallowing a man. In her right hand she holds a specific symbol of the Neapolitan House of Aragon, which is showing the ermine in its brown summer fur, which only the female members of her dynasty were using to identify themselves, with the exception of the Queens of her family, which were allowed to decorate themselves like the male members with the ermine in its white winter fur. With this portrait Isabella of Aragon tells us: I belong to the Neapolitan Dynasty of Aragon, and I am the Duchess of Bari. I have been married into the House of the Sforza, and I am therefore also the rightful Duchess of Milan!"
This is a very unusual portrait of Isabella of Aragon, because the painter dressed her like a French princess. That the depicted is Isabella of Aragon we can see at her headdress which is decorated with the colours of the Royal House of Aragon, red and yellow (or gold). It was made between 1517 and 1519. According to the art historians, this portrait of the for them unknown lady was made in the school (or workshop) of Leonardo da Vinci. We know of course that he could not paint any longer at that time. Therefore we have only three painters who could have done this portrait, because they lived with him in France: Francesco da Melzo, Salai and Andrea del Sarto. This portrait of Isabella of Aragon was certainly a present for the French king Francis I.
Die Sforza III: Isabella von Aragon und ihr Hofmaler Leonardo da Vinci
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