Portrait of a Couple

Portrait of a Couple is a portrait painting by Italian Renaissance artist Niccolò dell'Abbate, dated to c. 1537–1540. It is now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts of Strasbourg, France. Its inventory number is 641.[2]

Portrait of a Couple
Portrait de deux époux.jpg
ArtistNiccolò dell'Abbate
Yearbetween 1537 and 1540
Mediumoil painting on canvas
MovementItalian Renaissance
Portrait painting
SubjectGiulio Boiardo, count of Scandiano, and his wife, Silvia Sanvitale
Dimensions76 cm × 64 cm (30 in × 25 in)[1]
LocationMusée des Beaux-Arts, Strasbourg

The painting depicts the count of Scandiano, Giulio Boiardo [it], of the House of Boiardo [it], and his wife, Silvia Sanvitale. It was bought in 1914 for the museum by Wilhelm von Bode with an attribution to Dosso Dossi, and that attribution (to Dossi or his circle) was maintained until 1997. Only since that date is the painting attributed with certainty to a young dell'Abbate, who painted it in Modena at the time when he was also working on other commissions for the Boiardo's palace, the Rocca dei Boiardo [it]. The former title of the painting was A Duke of Ferrara and his Wife.[1][2]

The double portrait of the count and countess is most unusual in that the emphasis is very much placed on the wife, who is depicted in the act of closing a book that she was just reading, while her husband almost timidly approaches from behind. It appears as a testament to Giulio Boiardo's admiration and love for Silvia Sanvitale's strong intellect and personality.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b c Roy, Alain (June 2017). De Giotto à Goya. Peintures italiennes et espagnoles du musée des Beaux-Arts de Strasbourg. Musées de la ville de Strasbourg. pp. 152–153. ISBN 978-2-35125-151-5.
  2. ^ a b c "Portrait de deux époux (Giulio Bojardo, seigneur de Scandino et son épouse Silvia Sanvitale) ; Portrait présumé d'un duc de Ferrare et de son épouse (ancien titre)". Base Joconde. Retrieved 5 September 2020.