- The museum did an amazing job of setting the tone of "this is a very important painting" with the signage and other related pomp. It was really fun watching folks walk into the special alcove where La Bella is displayed--wide-eyed, unsure what to do with their hands, unsure how to react to what is clearly supposed to be a Big Deal Painting.
- La Bella is a nice portrait. It doesn't strike me as especially superior to the other portraits in the European Art collection that are already on exhibit, though.
- All of the promos you see of La Bella in the billboard promos and the newspaper articles zoom in on her face--the pale skin, delicate arch of eyebrows, youthful smoothness of the face. But what those photos don't reveal to you is her outfit. La Bella is a cute young woman who is entirely overshadowed by her enormous poofy sleeves. Oh my goodness. We're talking the height of Renaissance decadence here: blue and gold wagon-wheels at the shoulder, that transform into extraordinary oxblood arms that are slashed open at regular intervals with glorious meringue-like poofs of the white silk lining pulled through to the surface. The girl herself is like a pale, soft-focus afterthought tacked on to an extraordinary riot of gleaming gold embroidery on mediculously-rendered velvets and silks that catch the light in beautiful ways with every wrinkle and crease.
Today is the last day to see La Bella at the Portland Art Museum. I might have to go back and get a better look at those amazing sleeves today, just because.
Oregon Live has a good article where you can read more about the history and context of La Bella. (They're less snarky than I am, hee hee.)