Raphael and the Fornarina

…by the famous artist Dominique Ingres

famous painting by Dominique Ingres

After traveling to Italy for the first time and while viewing the masterpieces in the Vatican, a young Dominique Ingres (1780-1867) was truly inspired by the works of the Italian Renaissance painter Raphael. This work was inspired by Portrait of a Young Woman also known as La fornarina which was painted by Raphael between 1518 and 1520. The woman is believed to be Margherita Luti, his Roman mistress. She was the daughter of a baker and fornarina translates to the “little baker girl.” In his painting the woman is shown in a seated position attempting to cover her bare breasts with her hat. On her arm is a tattoo-like band with the signature of the artist RAPHAEL URBINAS.

Ingres has paid homage to the artist so much of his work derives from and his beautiful lady love in Raphael and the Fronarina. It shows the artist Raphael in his stockinged feet with Margherita sitting upon his lap as the artist gazes behind him at his unfinished portrait of her. Both are fully clothed and sitting in what appears to be the artist’s studio.

Some believe this 1814 work by Ingres provided renewed interest in Raphael’s portrait and that this imaginary double portrait created an almost cult-like following for the original.

To learn more about Ingres and to view a selection of his other works, please visit our Dominique Ingres Biography.