This gorgeous circa 1595 portrait of an unknown (but obviously wealthy) pregnant woman, which is most commonly attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts II, is without a doubt the most famous portrait of a pregnant woman ever painted. It is also one of the most beautiful and intriguing portraits I’ve ever seen.
Haute History: Detail of Cate Blanchett wears an incredibly intricate ivory corseted piece featuring thousands of embellished pearls and diamonds, thick patterned silk, weaves of ribbon, and a white frilled ruff made of stiff linen and lace all inspired by the actress’ costume from the movie ‘Elizabeth’ and was custom Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquière in a photograph by Irving Penn for Vogue US July 2007 X close-up of an oil painting titled ‘Portrait Of An Unknown Lady’ by artist Marcus Gheeraerts II in 1595 (second image via)
"Here she appears as Iris, messenger of the gods, carrying a rainbow and wearing an orange coat ornamented with a motif of eyes and ears… The queen’s virgin body was an object of constant fascination for her subjects, yet also a tirelessly vita and watchful presence among them." - Alice T. Friedman
Margaret Layton (formerly Laton), c.1620. Attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts, the younger (Flemish, c.1561-1636). Oil on oak panel. V&A.
Margaret Layton (formerly Laton) was the daughter of Sir Hugh Browne, a wealthy vintner and grocer. She is said to have been born in 1579, but it is more likely from her costume and appearance that she was born around 1590. She married Francis Layton (1577-1661), one of the Master Yeomen of the Jewel House at the Tower of London, and died in 1641.