I remember when the Duke requested that I produce yet another portrait of his beautiful wife, the duchess of Ferrara. I had painted this amazing woman many times in the past but I hadn’t yet captured the real her. I always seemed to miss out her true beauty, there would something missing and this time I was hoping to get it right. I never knew why he did have her executed; I certainly could never bring my self to have such a beautiful thing destroyed.
On previous occasions I had noticed that the Duke did not like me to get too friendly with her but how can you ignore such a beautiful and kind woman, I think the Duke was not sure if she was happy with him or just with her surroundings and the life she lived. The problem was that she was very easily pleased, sometimes too easily. Whenever I complimented her beauty she seemed to be embarrassed and her cheeks would blush slightly, she would only reply “Thank you” and as soon as she had finished speaking a glowing smile would return to her face.
On this occasion I remember that the Duke was extremely agitated, he was very unhappy about me being alone whilst painting the duchess, he kept checking on me to make sure I was not getting on too well with her. One time I remember he walked in when she was laughing. I could see the look on his face and he asked if he could speak to her. As she left the room he started shouting. I could not tell what he was saying but I do believe it involved me. There was simply no trust between the couple; the Duke did not like the Duchess to be alone with other men.
After this happened I had to be very careful what I said if I wanted to keep my reputation as a painter and to keep the jobs rolling in. The Duke seemed to be ok with me but only when it was he and I alone. As soon as the Duchess was present he seemed to become wary of me once again. I was not too bothered about this; it just meant that I had to get on with my job with a more serious attitude.
When the painting of the Duchess was finished I was very pleased I had finally captured her true beauty. The Duchess was very pleased but she always was, most surprisingly the Duke had a smile on his face, to me this was an unusual sight, especially when The Duke and The Duchess were in the room together. The Duke could not stop thanking me and complementing me on the work that I had produced. Normally he was a lot more arrogant and would not say much but I think that he appreciates a good piece of art, more so than his wife. He showed me a statue of Neptune taming a sea horse and asked what I thought, I replied marvellous. The Duke obviously had a soft spot for art; he paid me double this time because of the quality of my work.
I hope for more jobs with the Duke in the future and I am yet to meet his new wife, she is a young French girl and is supposed to be magnificent, I would imagine that the Duke sees her as a fine piece of art and I am expecting to be contacted by the Duke soon as he knows my work is of good quality.