Dosso Dossi's portrait of Lucrezia Borgia

A few weeks ago, Carl Villis—Senior Conservator of Paintings at the National Gallery of Victoria—gave a presentation as part of the 2021 seminar series from the Early Modern Circle at the University of Melbourne. This was recorded and is available until 19 May 2021 at

The unusual sixteenth-century North Italian oval portrait in the National Gallery of Victoria has been the subject of much debate as to the identity of both the sitter and the painter. Detailed technical examination of the painting in 2006 allowed Carl Villis to confidently determine the Ferrarese origins of the portrait, which in turn led to a major reassessment of the painting’s motifs and meaning. This presentation outlines some of the critical steps in the process of discovery which resulted in the identification of the sitter as Lucrezia Borgia, Duchess of Ferrara. This is a fascinating presentation based on over a decade of painstaking research.

More information on the Early Modern Circle and details of the 2021 seminar series can be found here: