An early work by Mino da Fiesole, this elegant relief of a young woman in classical dress is evidence of the artist’s engagement with the antiquities of Rome early in his career. Mino worked primarily in that city and Florence, although his many commissions around Tuscany and as far south as Naples testify to the esteem with which he was held. He particularly excelled in relief carving and in portraiture.
While the young woman’s head is shown in profile, her torso is turned slightly toward the viewer. The filmy fabric of her gown, gathered in a knot at the breast, is fastened at the shoulder and upper arm with round buttons. The smooth texture of her skin contrasts sharply with the finely pleated folds of the diaphanous garment. Her hair, tied with a narrow ribbon, is covered with a nearly-transparent veil edged in pearls. Mino’s treatment of the woman’s delicate features gives the impression of a fullness atypical in a relief. Scholars debate whether the subject is an idealized portrait of an actual person or a generic type.