Considered to be one of the greatest portrait paintings of the Northern Renaissance. For analysis and explanation of other important pictures from the Renaissance, see: Famous Paintings Analyzed An important but lesser-known exponent of Flemish painting of the third quarter of the 15th century, Petrus Christus was the leading painter in Bruges, after the death of Jan van Eyck , whose pupil he was and whom he greatly admired. He was also influenced by Roger van der Weyden
Portrait of a Young Woman is a painting which is commonly believed to be by the Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli , executed between and Others attribute authorship to Jacopo da Sellaio. The woman is shown in profile but with her bust turned in three-quarter view to reveal a cameo medallion she is wearing round her neck. The medallion is a copy in reverse of " Nero 's Seal ", a famous antique carnelian representing Apollo and Marsyas , which belonged to Lorenzo de' Medici. It belongs to a group of such paintings by Botticelli or his workshop. The art historian Aby Warburg first suggested the painting was an idealised portrait of Simonetta Vespucci. It is suggested that Quatrocento paintings of hair and water are related, though it is uncertain which most informs the other.
It marks a major stylistic advance in contemporary portraiture ; the girl is set in an airy, three-dimensional, realistic setting,  and stares out at the viewer with a complicated expression that is reserved, yet intelligent and alert. It is widely regarded as one of the most exquisite portraits of the Northern Renaissance. Art historian Joel Upton described the sitter as resembling "a polished pearl, almost opalescent, lying on a cushion of black velvet. Its appeal lies in part in her intriguing stare, accentuated by the slight misalignment of her eyes, while the eyebrows are faintly skewed.
Portrait art during the period of the Italian Renaissance played second fiddle to history istoria painting during the trecento 14th century , quattrocento 15th century and early cinquecento 16th century. The main preoccupation of Renaissance art throughout this period was the depiction of religious, secular and mythological scenes, whose messages were most suitable for public display in huge murals or monumental sculpture. Even so, a number of Old Masters eg. Leonardo Da Vinci , and Michelangelo managed to insert portraits and self-portraits into their grand murals.