The Head of a Woman—also known as La Scapigliata is a painting in oil on wood by the Italian Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci, dating from perhaps around 1500 and housed in the Galleria Nazionale di Parma, Italy.
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Art historians have dated the piece according to its similarity to other works by Leonardo da Vinci and have suggested its creation being around 1500.
La Scapigliata literally translates as ‘dishevelled hair’, perhaps more appropriately capturing the subject matter than the English title.
The wildness of the hair is in sharp contrast to the beautiful face it surrounds. It has been suggested that da Vinci painted the figure in this way to present the woman being inherently beautiful but also with a wild power that could not be tamed.
It is possible that this was the study of a model’s face, with da Vinci being interested in anatomical studies, or it has been contended that this was a preliminary sketch of how he intended to paint the Madonna.
Whilst in Head of a Woman, it was the hair that appears more like a rough drawing in a sketchbook, in The Virgin and Child it is the feet that look far more like a sketch than the realistically detailed faces.
Head of a Woman is housed in the Galleria nazionale do Parma, a gallery with a great number of Renaissance pieces.
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