Portrait of Young Woman with Unicorn – Raphael


Portrait of Young Woman with Unicorn is a painting by Raphael, which art historians date to 1505 or 1506. It is in the Galleria Borghese in Rome. The painting was originally oil on panel and was transferred to canvas during conservation work in 1934. It was in the course of this work that overpainting was removed, revealing the unicorn, and removing the wheel, cloak, and palm frond that had been added by an unknown painter during the mid-17th century.

How the painting appeared before the first 20th-century restoration, with the sitter as St. Catherine of Alexandria with wheel and palm frond.
The composition of the picture–placing the figure in a loggia opening out onto a landscape, the three-quarter-length format– was apparently inspired by the Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo between 1503 and 1506.[1] Christof Thoenes observes: “However unabashedly Raphael adopts the pose, compositional framework and spatial organization of the Leonardo portrait…the cool watchfulness in the young woman’s gaze is very different” from the “enigmatic ambiguity” of Mona Lisa.



Portrait of Young Woman with Unicorn – Raphael
Year 1506
Type Originally oil on panel; now on canvas
Dimensions: 65 cm × 51 cm
Location Galleria Borghese, Rome