Petrus Christus study completed – Portrait of a Young Lady

I finished my Petrus Christus master study. This painting is usually referred to as “Portrait of a Young Lady” or “Portrait of a Girl”, etc. His version was painted c. 1470.

Here’s my version, completed and in a nice frame. Portrait of a Young Lady, Airn LeBus after Petrus Christus, 11×14 inches, oil on panel, 2009:

Portrait of a Young Lady

Portrait of a Young Lady, Airn LeBus after Petrus Christus, 11x14 inches, oil on panel, 2009.

My version differs from the original in many ways, mostly on purpose with a couple things unintentional ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s the original: Petrus painting at wikimedia

I wasn’t looking to copy the original painting exactly and did my own thing on stuff like the background, eyes, highlights, and overall tone. Also, because the original is very cracked and small I had difficulty seeing how some parts looked. The necklace and decorative metalwork of the hennin hat look a lot different than his.

Petrus Christus study - detail

Petrus Christus study - detail

I painted this with oil on panel, and used a “dead layer” underpainting in raw umber first for the face and body. After I was satisfied with the way it looked, I started glazing flesh tones over the dead layer, very thin, with bleached linseed oil and just a small amount of paint.

The main colors I used in this painting were mars black, raw umber, burnt sienna and burnt umber, vermilion (hue), yellow ochre, and titanium white.

I wanted to do the text inscription after looking at some paintings by Albrecht Dรผrer and Hans Holbein the Younger. That part on my painting was pretty painstaking to execute and plan; it was the most complicated text I have painted so far. I did it over 4 or 5 sessions, getting the overall lettering correct first and letting it dry before embellishing it, and putting the raw umber drop shadows last when the rest was dry to avoid smearing what I had already done. I lightly oiled out the area each time before starting a new session.

Here’s a photo without the frame, you can see the detail of the inscription and stuff better:

Petrus Christus study without the frame

Petrus Christus study without the frame

One of my favorite things about this painting is that her gaze really follows you around the room. Anywhere you are, if you glance towards the painting she is looking right at you. It’s a little creepy ๐Ÿ™‚

I spent about 45 hours painting this. The drawing took an additional 6 hours or so. A lot of the painting time was spent painting and repainting the metalwork and trying to figure out how to do that and the necklace. I spent at least 3 times longer on the necklace and maybe 6 times longer on the hat metalwork than I would have if I had known exactly how to proceed. So as always, this was a learning process…that was one of the primary reasons I did this painting in the first place, so I guess it worked out ๐Ÿ™‚

I have two other posts about this painting, to see them look at the master study category.


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