This painting is also titled (wrongly) Mr. and Mrs. Sisley. The painter Sisley is indeed recognizable, but the lively young lady on his arm is not in fact Sisley's companion but Renoir's favourite model at this period, Lise Tréhot. This is an outdoor scene in a town garden, which is suggested in a rather vague way.
Inscription at the top, monogrammed and writing: ALBERTUS DÜRER GERMANUS FACIEBAT POST VIRGINIS PARTUM 1506.
The restoration carried out of after the Second World War involved the removal of the opaque varnish that protected this painting and revealed it to be much better preserved than was previously thought. Nevertheless, the face is not finished, and it appears slightly flat, despite the vivaciousness of the eyes. The contrast of the colours of the clothing and beret (charcoal and black, respectively) against the green background elicits a remarkable effect. So does the gentle depiction of the face framed by soft, chestnut hair. The portrait, which can be considered typical of the era, can be dated accurately: a letter that Dürer sent at that time from Venice to Willibald Pirckheimer makes clear that it must have been carried out between 23 September 1506, and 23 October 1506, that is, after the Feast of the Rose Garlands (Národní Galerie, Prague) and before the Madonna with the Siskin (Staatliche Museen, Berlin).
Santi Giovanni e Paolo, the most important Dominican church in Venice, is depicted at the right, with the equestrian monument to Bartolommeo Colleoni by the Italian sculptor Andrea Verrocchio in front of it. Beside the church and in the centre of the composition is the Scuola Grande di San Marco, the wealthiest of the six major philanthropic confraternities in the city. The square before it is teeming with a variety of figures: beggars, a mother and child, traders, elegant ladies and dogs.
It is probable that this work was acquired by the Ambassador of the Holy Roman Empire to Venice at the annual exhibition of paintings held outside the Scuola di San Rocco, which Canaletto later depicted (National Gallery, London). Works were displayed at such exhibitions by many leading painters of the time.
Lautrec's mother, Countess Adèle-Zoë-Marie-Marquette Tapié de Céleyran (1841-1930), came from an old family from the Aude province. The two families, Toulouse-Lautrec and Céleyran, had been interrelated since the 18th century. Adèle married her cousin, Count Alphonse-Charles-Marie de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa. After the birth of their second child the couple separated and, after her divorce, Adèle lived at Malromé Château where the portrait was painted.