Sant’Apollonia (c.1455-1460)

Piero della Francesca (c.1416-1492)

Sant’Apollonia (Saint Apollonia)
Tempera on poplar panel, 38.8 x 28 cm
National Gallery of ArtWashington

Attributed to Piero della Francesca.

Shown from the knees up, a pale-skinned woman in front of a gold background wears a rose-pink cloak over a sky-blue dress and holds up a tooth in a pair of pincers in this vertical painting. Her body faces us but she looks slightly off to our left with pale brown eyes under faint, arched brows. She has a long nose and her thin, coral-pink lips are closed. Her wavy, auburn-brown hair falls closely around her neck. Her light blue dress has narrow, V-shaped neckline and the high waistline is gathered under a white belt or sash to create the impression of vertical pleats. Her deep pink cloak is fastened with a cord at the neck. It falls over her shoulders and arms, and she holds up the opposite hem with her left hand, on our right. In her right hand, on our left, she holds up a pair of iron-colored pincers holding a small, white object, a tooth. The surface of the painting is noticeably cracked, especially in the shiny gold background behind the person. (NGA)