Baroque and Rococo


Baroque and Rococo Art Map


The Art of the Portrait


Masterpieces of European Portrait-Painting




  The Art of the Portrait
  The Great Age of the Portrait
  Origins of the Portrait
  Jan van Eyck: Tymotheos
  Jan van Eyck: The Marriage of Giovanni Arnolfini
  Jan van Eyck: The Virgin of Chancellor Rolin
  Rogier van der Weyden: Portrait of a Lady
  Jean Fouquet: Etienne Chevalier Presented by St Stephen
  Hans Memling: Man with a Roman Coin
  Antonello da Messina: Portrit of a Man, known as "Il Condottiere"
  Early Portrait of a Ruler
  Piero della Francesca: Federigo da Montefeltro and his Wife Battista Sforza
  Portraits of Renaissance Women
  Pisanello: Young Lady of the Este Family
  Leonardo da Vinci: The Lady with the Ermine (Cecilia Gallerani)
  Leonardo da Vinci: Mona Lisa (La Gioconda)
  Giorgione: Portrait of a Young Lady ("Laura")
  Piero di Cosimo: Simonetta Vespucci
  Agnolo Bronzino: Laura Battiferri
  The Psychological Portrait
  Lorenzo Lotto: Young Man before a White Curtain
  Lorenzo Lotto: Man with a Golden Paw
  Moretto da Brescia: Portrait of a Young Man
  Portraits and Caricatures
  Quentin Massys: Old Woman (The Queen of Tunis)
  Portraits of Renaissance Humanists
  Luca Signorelli: Portrait of a Middle-Aged Man
  Agnolo Bronzino: Portrait of Ugolino Martelli
  Raphael: Baldassare Castiglione
  Lucas Cranach the Elder: Dr. Cuspinian and his Wife
  Hans Holbein the Younger: Erasmus of Rotterdam
  Mythologising Portraits
  Agnolo Bronzino: Andrea Doria as Neptune
  Nicoletto da Modena (?): Francis I of France as an Antique God
  Portraits of Popes and Cardinals
  Raphael: Pope Leo X with Cardinals Giuliano de' Medici and Luigi de Rossi
  Titian: Pope Paul III, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and Duke Ottavio Farnese
  Portraits of Artists and Collectors
  Lorenzo Lotto: Andrea Odoni
  Titian: Jacopo de Strada
  Artists' Self-Portraits
  Albrecht Durer: Self-Portrait with a Fur Coat
  Nicolas Poussin: Self-Portrait
  Rembrandt: Self-Portraits
  Portrait of a Friend
  Hans Holbein the Younger: The French Ambassadors to the English Court
  "Teste Composte"
  Giuseppe Arcimboldo: Vertumnus
  Portraits of 16th and 17th-century Rulers
  Titian: Emperor Charles V after the Battle of Miihlberg
  Anthony van Dyck: Charles I of England, Hunting
  Hyacinthe Rigaud: Louis XIV of France
  Philippe de Champaigne: Triple Portrait of Cardinal Richelieu
  Marriage and Family Portraits
  Peter Paul Rubens: Rubens and Isabella Brant under the Honeysuckle
  Jacob Jordaens: The Artist and his Family
  Portraits of Children
  Giovanni Francesco Caroto: Boy with a Drawing
  Jan van Scorel: The Schoolboy
  Diego Velazquez: The Infante Philip Prosper
  Dutch Civic Guard Portraits
  Rembrandt: "The Night Watch"
  Portraits of Regents
  Frans Hals: The Governors of the Old Men's Almshouse at Haarlem
  Anatomy Lessons
  Rembrandt: The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp
  Portraits of Fools and Dwarfs
  Diego Velazquez: The Dwarf "El Primo"



Portraits of Artists and Collectors


see also:

Lorenzo Lotto


Lorenzo Lotto:

Andrea Odoni


Lorenzo Lotto
Portrait of Andrea Odoni
Oil on canvas, 114 x 101 cm
Royal Collection, Hampton Court


The humanist and antique dealer Andrea Odoni is presented amidst his collection of antiques. He sits at a green-covered table, wearing a voluminous and richly lined, fur-collared coat. His large head, inclined a little to one side, is framed by his beard, and by his dark hair, which is parted in the middle. Gazing at the spectator, Odoni has placed one hand on his chest in a gesture of "sincenta" (here: reverence, or deference), while his other holds out a small, possibly Egyptian statue to the spectator. By contrast with the room in Titian's portrait of Jacopo de Strada, Odoni's antique cabinet is simply furnished. Against the whitewashed wall, the statues seem to have developed a fantastic life of their own, especially on the right where the shadows are deeper. Antaeus is shown wrestling with Hercules on the left, while a statue on the right, from the Vatican Belvedere court, shows Hercules with the skin of the Nemean lion. On the far right there is yet another Hercules, a "Hercules mingens" (the Classical hero as "Manneken Pis"), before a well, or trough, over which a female figure, perhaps Venus, is leaning. Classical antiquity seems revived in the form of a huge head emerging from under the table-cloth. In fact, this is the head of Emperor Hadrian, the "Adrian de stucco" mentioned by Marcantonio Michicl in 1555 in his Odoni-collection inventory. The much smaller torso of Venus appears to nestle up to the head, to - probably calculated - comic effect. Although monochromatic, and indeed partly ruined, the sculptures seem mysteriously animated. Lotto invokes the magical properties of the image; he gently parodies the theme of the "re-birth" of Classical art by taking it literally. The small statue in the collector's hand, reminiscent of Diana of Ephesus, indicates the artist's and sitter's demonstrable interest in Egyptian religion. At Venice, Lorenzo Lotto's place of birth, where he often stayed - the painting was executed after 1526, while Lotto was staying at Venice - there was widespread interest among the humanists in Egyptian hieroglyphics as a source of arcane knowlege and divine wisdom. This "science" could be traced back to Horapollo, the author of a treatise on hieroglyphics, which had survived in Greek translation.
In her dissertation on the work of Lorenzo Lotto, published in 1977, Diana Wronski Galis posited that the artist's rendering of antique sculptures was intended as a warning - along the lines of Petrarch's "De remediis utnusque fortunae" (On the use of medicines for good and evil) -against the evils of collecting worldly treasures. However, this theory is neither borne out by the painting itself, nor can it be reconciled with the self-image of the patron; indeed, the very fact of his having commissioned the painting in the first place would then make no sense at all. Her thesis therefore has little in common with the reality of the painting. The passionate collector Odoni would hardly - as patron - permit such censure of his person, let alone commission it.


Lorenzo Lotto
Portrait of Andrea Odoni

Although partially ruined, the antique sculptures in the background seem mysteriously animated.
The renaissance of Classical art is taken quite literally here.


see also:



Jacopo de Strada



Portrait of Jacopo Strada

Oil on canvas, 125 x 95 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Unlike Giovanni Battista Moroni's Sculptor, who is shown from the side with his head turned toward the spectator and strong hands firmly holding a small antique torso of Hercules, Titian's Jacopo de Strada is portrayed in action. Strada seems to be communicating with an imaginary person to the right of the spectator, for whom, as if in response to a request of some kind, he has picked up a Roman copy of the Aphrodite Pscliumene (Aphrodite "with the necklace). The movement has caused the fur around his collar to slip, so that only his left shoulder prevents it from falling.
Here Strada has the aged artist, his close friend, paint him not only surrounded by the trappings of his profession, but with all the badges of his office. His clothing - the fur, red silk sleeves and satin sheen of his waistcoat - shows the great wealth of this painter, goldsmith, archaeologist, art collector and art expert from Mantua. The gold chain wound four times around his neck, carrying a pendant with a helmeted head in profile, is a sign of his noble birth, as is his sword, whose hilt is casually visible to the right of the table. Ostensibly, the sitter is indulging in a vastly exaggerated display of self-importance. His vanity is equally expressed in the cartouche ornamenting a pillar which, like part of a stage set, has no structural purpose beyond providing a surface for the following inscription: JACOBVS DE STRADA CIVIS ROMANVS CAESS. ANTIQVARIVS ET COM. BELIC. AN: AETAT: LI: et C.M.D.L. XVI (Jacopo de Strada, Roman citizen, Imperial Collector of Antiques and War Minister, aged 51, in the year 1566). Strada was evidently proud of his activities as a collector and merchant of antique objects. Under Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria he founded the Munich "Antiquarium", later going on to fulfil similar duties at the imperial courts of Vienna and Prague under Emperors Ferdinand I, Maximilian II and Rudolf II, to whom he succeeded -incapable as he was of passing off an opportunity - in marrying off his own daughter. His position as War Minister is another exaggeration. The term (possibly added later) "comes bellicus" should be understood as as description of his actual work, which involved drawing up plans for war machines. Strada's interest in numismatics - he began his career collecting coins and wrote a book in the late 1550s entitled "De consulibus numismatibus" -is illustrated by the Roman coins lying on the table next to the torso. His erudition is indicated by a pile of books on the ledge behind him, probably his own writings. That the portrait is as much an act of friendship and homage as a commissioned piece of work can be seen in the words of a letter lying on the table: "Al Mag Sig Tizian Vecellio... Venezia".
"A younger artist than Titian... could not have painted such a beautiful, dignified likeness of a person so lacking in charm. For a younger artist would not have had the benefit of the boldness of style that was so characteristic of Titian's later years, his generosity and expressive brushstroke, the wonderful glowing warmth of his colours... It was the rank of the sitter which decided the character of his portrait; a person's individuality was shown through the media of various attributes, books and the like, but not by means of the psychological analysis or labelling of a sitter. That Titian nonetheless managed simultaneously to express the general and the particular, the ideal and the reality, the sitter's gentility and his villainy, is due to a restlessness that is not usually found in this artist's work."


Giovanni Battista Moroni
The Sculptor Alessandro Vittoria


Artists' Self-Portraits


see also:

Albrecht Durer

Albrecht Durer:

Self-Portrait with a Fur Coat


Jan van Eyck

Albrecht Durer
Self-Portrait in a Fur Coat
Alte Pinakothek, Munich



While confirming Albrecht Durer's reputation as a keen observer of the natural irregularities of the human form and a scrupulous recorder of minute empirical detail, this self-portrait nonetheless appears idealised. This impression probably derives from the intense symmetry of the full-face, bust portrait. F. Winziger has traced the underlying structural principles of its composition to medieval systems of proportion and triangulation. Durer adopted the technique of hieratic frontality from medieval paintings of Christ, and from representations of Veronica's kerchief with the imprint of Christ's face. This has led a number of art historians to make the portrait the object of their own, quasi-religious aestheticism. Ernst Buchner (1953), for example, found its "elevation to a realm transcending quotidian individuality, a realm of human greatness bordering on the sacred" so "compelling" that he felt "removed by the artist's serious gaze to a higher plane of human existence".
Whether it is permissible to see this painting as an "Imitatio Christi", or whether, inspired by the Italian theorists of art Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola, Durer saw himself as a creator-god, or demiurge, remains open to debate. In fact, a sentimental passage from one of Durer's later writings (1512) enthuses over the esteem in which artists once were held, when "great masters were placed on a level with God". It is difficult to ascertain whether this reflected Diirer's opinion in 1500. It has been even suggested that the inscription may not be genuine. In John Pope-Hennessy's opinion, for example, Diirer cannot have executed the painting before his second visit to Italy in 1505/07.


Albrecht Durer
Self-Portrait of Strasbourg, at 22


If iconographical and typological considerations make some of these suggestions seem quite feasible, their wholesale acceptance as a model for the interpretation of Durer's self-portrait would be more than rash. The qualities demanded by the "Imitation of Christ" - according to the late medieval writer Thomas a Kempis in a widely-known work entitled "De imitatione Christi" -were modesty, austerity and humility. Durer's vain awareness of his own, fashionable good looks in this self-portrait, especially evident in his hairsyle and fur-lined coat, hardly seems in keeping with these moral precepts. His finely curled hair falls in a cascade of ringlets onto his shoulders, and a flurry of curls stands up on his forehead. Durer had already projected a dandified image of himself in a self-portrait he painted in 1498, now in Madrid. An even earlier self-portrait, executed in 1493 and now in Paris, had shown the artist as a highly fashion-conscious young man. While Erasmus criticised long hair in his "Golden Book of Manners for Little Boys", demanding hair be prevented from "hanging onto the forehead or falling loosely onto the shoulders", Diirer continued to advocate an artistic "counter-culture".
It is difficult to explain the position of the artist's right hand. With index and middle fingers spread, and fingertips practically closed - an unlikely, and physically awkward feat - his hand seems to function as a clasp, fastening the two flaps of his fur-collar. Or is it meant as a "reflexive" gesture? Perhaps it is an expression of deferential respect, a recurrent feature in the Italian portrait of the day.


Albrecht Durer
Self-Portrait with Gloves



Albrecht Durer
Self-Portrait at 13



Albrecht Durer
Self-Portrait with a Bandage



Albrecht Durer
Studies of Self-Portrait



Albrecht Durer
Self-Portrait in the Nude



Albrecht Durer



Albrecht Durer
Self-Portrait as the Man of Sorrows

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