Raphael's other woman.

Raphael's other woman.

Raphael's other woman.

The big picture.
Feb. 2 2005 7:11 PM

Raphael's Other Woman

Who is the mystery lady in La Fornarina?

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Yet to Strinati, the two women are as different as … well, to put it bluntly, a virgin and a whore. "While La Velata is a modest figure, depicted delicately, La Fornarina is the portrait of a bold, audacious woman," he writes. "It seems strange that two such different portrayals might be of the same person." It seems strange to me that Strinati can't see that this is the same person, clothed and demure in one picture, naked and flirty in another. Although Strinati's explanation smacks of scholarly sobriety, in this case, the more alluring love story may actually be true.

Correction, Feb. 10, 2005: An earlier version of this piece misspelled Gainsborough. It is Gainsborough, not Gainesborough as was originally stated. Return to the corrected sentence.

Mia Fineman is a writer and curator in New York.