Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen this painting is here in Portland. You can pay $5.00 over and above regular museum entrance costs, whatever that is for you, and see this amazing piece of priceless Renaissance art (truth in blogging Mr. Row from the Oregonian, take note). The Portland Art Museum is hosting this masterpiece by Raphael until January 3. At that point you can travel to Reno, Nevada and then after that to Wisconsin to see her. She will leave the United States in June of 2010. The price of the airfare to see this masterpiece escalates substantially after that. Summer fares to Florence, Italy from Portland - $800 at the least, at the back of the plane. Now add in meals and lodging and then the euros begin to slide through your fingers like sand on the beach.
Stand in the southern most gallery of the Portland Art Museum and you will see her breathe. Much as she probably did for Raphael. Stories vary but this one from Wisconsin catches the heat of the moment...
Raphael’s personal life was complex. He never married but was reputed to have had many relationships. In 1514 he became engaged to Maria Bibbiena, the niece of an influential Cardinal and Raphael’s friend. The marriage never took place, and she died in 1520. Raphael lived a grand lifestyle in Rome and attained some status at court. It is believed that he died on his 37th birthday in 1520. He left a significant portion of his estate to Margherita Luti—La Donna Velata—and he was buried in the Pantheon.
Look at her eyes and her mouth, I think of her saying to Raphael as she exhales, you will pay for this later.
Update - 10 November 2009:
Barry Johnson wrote a compelling article on La Donna Velata. I think of it as what should have been written in the Oregonian when this exquisite painting first arrived here in Portland. Click here to read Mr. Johnson's Portland Arts Watch article.