About this artwork

The two younger women would have been recognised immediately by contemporaries as courtesans. Their elaborately braided hair cascades over their bare shoulders, and the central figure's unfastened bodice is sensually provocative. She admires her reflection in the mirror held by older woman with a darker complexion, who may be their procuress. The mirror also alludes, however, to the transience of physical beauty. The ornate character of the box-like interior contributes to the painting's spatial ambiguity and its decorative appearance. It was probably painted for a wealthy Venetian patron.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    Venetian Women at their Toilet
  • date created:
    About 1545
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    97.00 x 141.00 cm (framed: 131.40 x 175.40 x 10.00 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased by the Royal Institution 1830; transferred to the National Gallery of Scotland 1859
  • accession number:
    NG 10
  • gallery:
  • subject:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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Paris Bordon

Paris Bordon