Female portrait (Maria Theresa of Savoy?)
Italian, circle of Lorenzo Bartolini
19th century, White marble
The woman portrayed in this fine marble may be very hypothetically (but interestingly) identified as Maria Teresa of Savoy, princess of the Kingdom of Sardinia, duchess of Lucca by marriage from 1824 to 1847 (she married Charles Ludovic de Bourbon in 1820), and duchess of Parma from 1847 to 1848. This fascinating conjecture has been put forward due to a comparison with the bust of the duchess made by Lorenzo Bartolini, now housed in the Galleria Nazionale in Parma. A comparison of the two sculptures allows the hypothesis to be put forward, with some caution, all the more so, considering that the Parma portrait portrays her at the age of 25, and this work depicts a woman in the fullness of her maturity. The woman’s likeness bears no traces of the unhappy life of the duchess, the very Christian wife of a libertine and a mother deprived of her children: she is portrayed according to the canon appropriate for a lady of noble birth, with a firm yet serene expression. It is precisely the quality of the execution of the bust, including the masterly treatment of the marble and the confidence of the composition, with the slight inclination of the head and the definition of the clothing, that has led to the conjecture that it may be the work Bartolini himself.