Young Woman with Unicorn

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Young Woman with Unicorn
Raffael 046.jpg
Artist Raphael
Year 1506
Type Oil on panel
Dimensions 65 cm × 61 cm (26 in × 24 in)
Location Galleria Borghese, Rome

Portrait of Young Woman with Unicorn is a painting, oil on canvas applied to wood, by Raphael, c. 1506. It is in the Galleria Borghese in Rome.

How the painting appeared before the first 20th century restoration, with the sitter as St. Catherine of Alexandria with wheel and palm frond.

The portrait appears to have been influenced by the Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo between 1503 and 1506.[1] The work was of uncertain attribution until recent times. In the 1760 inventory of the Gallery, the subject of the painting was identified as Saint Catherine of Alexandria and attributed to Perugino. A restoration of the painting in 1934–36 confirmed art historian Roberto Longhi's hypothesis that the work was by Raphael, and the removal of heavy repainting revealed the unicorn, traditionally a symbol of purity in medieval romance, in place of a Saint Catherine wheel.[2] Later restoration work on the painting in 1959 revealed the image of a dog, even earlier than the unicorn, also a symbol of chastity and conjugal fidelity. The young woman in the painting was a bride and this painting was a wedding gift to the engaged couple from Raphael.[3]

See also[edit]


Barchiesi, Sofia, and Marina # Minozzi, The Galleria Borghese: The Masterpieces, Galleria Borghese, Rome, n.d.


  1. ^ Barchiesi and Minozzi
  2. ^ Barchiesi and Minozzi
  3. ^ Barchiesi and Minozzi
The dog found in later restoration work. Note that the ears of the dog are visible today as pentimenti on the lady's sleeve.