Description: This painting has been the discussion of much scholarly debate and there are many schools of thought as to the sitter herself as well as to the painter. It is very likely that the painting is that of Margaret of Austria (1584 - 1611) Queen of Spain and Portugal also known as Marianna von Habsburg. However another school of thought is that the portrait is of Isabella Clara Eugenia of Austria (1566 - 1633). Another is that it is of Queen Elizabeth I (1533 - 1603). Who ever she is the woman in the portrait is someone of great rank and importance as the near full-length size of the portrait indicates. She wears an exemplary Spanish style pearl-encrusted gown lined with jewels worthy of a queen. However the style of the dress does not specifically indicate the nationality of the wearer as Spanish style dress had become popular across Europe including as far away as England Austria and Tuscany.
There can be no doubt that the portrait shares great similarities to those of Margarete Erzherzogin von Osterreich of Austria who was also known as Marianna von Habsburg. She married Phillip III of Spain in 1599 and became influential in his court.
The painting has similarities to others of Archduchess Isabella Clara Eugenia of Austria (1566-1633) who was the daughter of King Philip II of Spain and his third wife the French princess Isabel de Valois (1546-1568).
The painting also has similarities with other Portraits of Queen Elizabeth I which have been derived from a Darnley face-pattern a portrait of Elizabeth painted by an anonymous artist in the late 16th century which resides in the National Portrait Gallery London.
The painting also has numerous qualities that are not unlike the portraits of Maria Magdalena of Austria (1589-1631) Grand Duchess Consort of Tuscany.
As to the painter the painting has very strong similarities to Bartolome Gonzalez (1564-1627) and is likely by his hand. It also is similar in style to other 16th/17th century portraits of royals by Sanchez Coello and Pantoja de la Cruz (1553- 1608). It's style has characteristics of the the hand of Frans Pourbus (1570-1622) and is also quite similar to that of Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640).
Location of Origin: Europe / England
Medium/Materials: Oil On Canvas
Dimensions: 48in (h) x 37in (w)
Provenance: Private Collection Connecticutt, Lawrence Steingrad Fine Arts, Private Collection Vermont
EXHIBITED:American Museum of Natural History, New York National Science Museum, Tokyo, Natural History Museum, London
Expertise: A nearly identical painting is hung in Rousham House designed by William Kent near Oxford England. Another similar portrait of Queen Elizabeth is in The Royal Collection Hampton Court England. A very similar painting of Margarete of Austria hangs in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.