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10/11/2020

Two alleged portraits of Isabella of Aragon, Duchess of Milan and Bari

which are still found on the Internet

According to the art historians there are still existing two portraits of Isabella of Aragon (1470-1524), the Duchess of Milan and Bari. Yes, the art historians are still able to persuade journalists to spread their nonsense. If anybody comes to you claiming he or she found a portrait of a specific person who lived in the past you have to ask them two questions:
1. Do you have a detailed written contemporary source describing this person and telling us all who the depicted is? (If they claim they found one, ask them to show it to you and then send it to me. It is probably nonsense. I only found very, very few contemporary sources describing a work in detail, but I did not find the works they are describing!)
2. Did the painter decorate the portrait painting with the symbols or emblems and/or the specific colours of a dynasty so that you are able to identify the depicted? I call these the contemporary pictorial sources.

Look at these two alleged portraits of Isabella of Aragon (Fig. 1 and Fig. 2).

Fig. 1: According to the art historians of today a portrait drawing of Isabella of Aragon, made by Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio (Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana)
Fig. 2: According to the art historians of today a portrait painting of Isabella of Aragon, made by Raphael

Regarding Fig. 1: We do not have any written historical source mentioning this portrait drawing and because it is a drawing we are not able to see any symbols or emblems. But this person was a very famous lady of the Italian Renaissance. Therefore we have many portraits of her on which she was decorated with her specific colours and the symbols or emblems of the husbands she was married to. Her name is Lucrezia Borgia. And we even know when this drawing was made. Do you see the eyes next to her face? (Fig. 1 and Fig. 1a) These are the eyes of her third husband, Alfonso of Aragon, who was a half-brother of Isabella and who was Lucrezia’s great love in her life. The unfinished drawing was therefore made in 1498. And the drawing was not done by Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, but by his master Leonardo da Vinci who was sent to this wedding as the envoy of Isabella of Aragon. Please read my answer to one of my readers of my website.

Fig. 1a: The eyes of Alfonso of Aragon (1481-1500)

It is also very interesting that this drawing which was probably a template for a portrait painting in oil, which Leonardo da Vinci planned to do in the future, was titled with "Portrait of Isabella of Aragon, Duchess of Milan" only after 1921 (Fig. 1b). As I already told my readers in my other articles again and again, in the 1950s and 1960s the art historians started to make the most ridiculous claims regarding the depicted persons in the famous Renaissance paintings. They could do it. Nobody stopped them.

Fig. 1b: At least in 1921 the portrait drawing had not yet the title "Portrait of Isabella of Aragon, the Duchess of Milan and Bari", but "A Milanese Lady". And we know why it got this title. Because the art historians attributed this drawing wrongly to Leonardo's student Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, who had been living and working in Milan for a long time. Therefore the depicted had - according to the simple minded art historians - to be a lady from Milan.

Regarding Fig. 2: We do not have any written historical source mentioning this portrait painting. But in contrast to Fig. 1 the painter decorated this portrait with many symbols. It is an identification portrait. Therefore we are able to identify the depicted. Her name is Costanza Colonna (1555-after 1610). She was a great-granddaughter of Isabella of Aragon and had been married to Francesco I. Sforza, Margrave of Caravaggio (= descendant of Lodovico il Moro Sforza). But this portrait painting was not made by Raphael as the art historians claim. Raphael had already been dead for 35 years before Costanza Colonna was born.

Don't forget that the portrait painting of “Mona Lisa” is an identification portrait too (Fig. 3). Leonardo da Vinci made this first portrait of Isabella of Aragon as the new Duchess of Milan in Spring 1489. Isabella is shown with the specific mourning dress of the Sforza Duchesses of the second phase in the mourning period (they were wearing it from the 9th to 12th month after the death of an important member of their family). There were four duchesses of this dynasty who were allowed to wear it: Bianca Maria Visconti, Bona of Savoy, Isabella of Aragon and Beatrice d’Este. All four women look very different and we still have at least one acknowledged portrait of each of them.

Fig. 3: Isabella of Aragon, the new Duchess of Milan, 1489

I am now also able to answer the question how and when did the famous portrait of Isabella of Aragon arrive in France: in 1499 or 1500

And what about the background of this famous painting? It shows the landscape and surrounding of Pavia, the main seat of Isabella of Aragon and her first husband, her cousin Gian Galeazzo II. Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan, and the route of the most important river in the territory of the Milanese Duchess Isabella: the Ticino, from its spring to its outlet into the Po at Pavia.

Neu: Wer ist Mona Lisa?
Buchcover: Wer ist Mona Lisa?

Wer ist Mona Lisa? – Identifizierung einer Unbekannten mit Hilfe historischer Quellen

als Buch bei amazon.de: 172 Seiten, mit Stammtafeln und 136 Bildern (130 Bilder in Farbe), Independently published, 1. Auflage, ISBN 978-1-9831-3666-5, € 29,31