The portrait of an old woman by the famous Flemish painter Hans Memling is striking with the amazing realism of the model’s face, which makes it possible to judge her age, to suggest certain features of her character and world perception.
The artist does not set the task to flatter this woman, he truly conveys her tightly compressed almost colorless lips, pale fading skin, does not try to shade her eyes. His model doesn’t care about it either. Her whole strictly-focused appearance, impenetrable expression of the face, the fixed gaze of cold eyes betray the cares of another plan. Her thoughts are looking for not external attractiveness, but spiritual purity, aimed at internal improvement.
Interesting compositional technique in constructing the background for a portrait. To the right of the high white headdress of a woman, Memling makes the background dull and dark, on which this interesting accessory of her costume is particularly impressive. To the left of the image, he paints a landscape background, enlivening the composition, giving depth to the space of the picture and giving the viewer additional details about the environment in which the heroine exists.
Initially, this portrait was a pair with the “Portrait of an Old Man”, now located in the State Museum of Berlin. “Portrait of an elderly woman”, changing several owners, hit the Louvre in 1908.