Monday, July 9, 2012

Titian's Contemporary

Portrait of a Little Girl of the Redetti Family

Portrait of a Twenty Year Old Man

Giovanni Battista Moroni (1520/24-1578) lived and worked in the provincial North Italian city of Bergamo, mostly painting the local nobility. The influence of his much more prominent contemporary Titian was always visible (Titian even passing on commissions when too busy to paint them himself). Yet Moroni's independent fame has gradually, steadily increased over the years – and his stock among those who care about late Renaissance art is higher at present than ever.

Currently the Metropolitan Museum in New York is showing two of his wonderful portraits (above) in a special group show consisting of fifteen Venetian and Northern Italian paintings from the Renaissance, loaned by Bergamo's Accademia Carrera while it undergoes structural renovations.

All fifteen of the loans are viewable on the Met site. Instead of reproducing those, I decided to zero in on an additional sample of Moroni portraits executed between about 1560 and 1580. 

Portrait of a Woman in a  Red Dress

Portrait of a Nobleman in Armor

Bust Portrait of a Young Man

Portrait of Bartolommeo Bonghi

Portrait of Prospero Alessandri

Portrait of Don Gabriel de la Cueva

Portrait of a Young Woman
As an afterthought, it occurred to me that the little heiress of the Redettis in the first image at the top of this post  is toying with a goodly strand of pearls that appear identical to a vintage set I gave my daughter some years ago – but it had not occurred to me to wonder what her mother's pearls would look like on Mabel Watson Payne if she dressed herself up in a stiff ruff and golden brocade gown. The Redetti child is actually probably fonder of the coral beads half hidden under the ruffled cuff. Those beads look as if they really do belong to her.