Painted on an oak panel, this small painting – 34 × 25.5 cm (13 × 10 in) – shows an unknown woman. She probably belonged to the nobility given her dress, gold belt, hairstyle and the fact her eyebrows are plucked. The painting is undated but estimated at around 1460. This was late in Van der Weyden’s career (he died in 1464 at the age of 64) when he focused on painting portraits. One of my favourite portraits.
Just look at the intricate and detailed way he painted the fingers, her golden rings and the details on her golden belt.
You may love Mona Lisa’s smile but I prefer this unknown lady’s facial expression; what was she thinking about almost six centuries ago? How has her life turned out?