This mysterious drawing shows an encounter between elegantly dressed members of the noble class. The French inscription above the image suggests that the woman is addressing her suitors and makes it clear that they are concerned with the pursuit of love: He who will conquer my love / This [barrier] must overcome / Neither destroying it nor loosening it / Going neither below it nor above. The style of the clothing reflects French court fashions during the reign of Charles VIII (1483–98), and the subject relates to the tradition of late medieval collections of love riddles that involved verbal exchanges between courtly ladies and gentlemen.

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  • Title: A Lady with Three Suitors
  • Date Created: c. 1500
  • Physical Dimensions: Sheet: 23 x 19.3 cm (9 1/16 x 7 5/8 in.)
  • Provenance: Antonio Badile II [1424-1507], Verona, Ludovico Moscardo, Verona, by descent to Teresa Moscardo, Teresa Moscardo [1747-?], Verona, by descent to last Moscardo heir, Count Mario Miniscalchi-Brizzo, Count Mario Miniscalchi-Erizzo [1881-1957], Verona, sold to private collection, Private collection, by descent, Luigi Grassi [1858-1937], Florence, (Francis Matthiesen, London, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH), The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Type: Drawing
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1956.40
  • Medium: pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, with traces of black chalk
  • Inscriptions: upper center, in brown ink: Celuy mamour conquestera / qui deca ce laß passera / Sanß lempirer ne desnouer / sanß dessuß ne dessoubz passez
  • Fun Fact: The simple background and lack of landscape detail in this drawing suggest that the image may have been a model for a tapestry or other textile.
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: France, 16th century
  • Credit Line: John L. Severance Fund
  • Collection: DR - French
  • Accession Number: 1956.40

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