Giovanni Battista Moroni (ca. 1520-1578) was a painter from the region of Bergamo, in the foothills of the Italian Alps. Long dismissed as a "mere portraitist" by top rank of art critics, he seems to be in vogue lately, with several major shows and publications over the past decade. I find the quality of his work uneven but I love some of it, including all the pictures shown here. Above, Portrait of a 29-Year-Old Man,
Portrait of a Girl of the Redetti Family
, ca. 1570.
Portrait of Ercole Tasso,
or, Titian's School Master
. ca. 1575.
Portrait of a Young Woman,
Man Holding a Letter
, ca. 1570.
Portrait of a Nobleman,
ca. 1570. After seeing that all of these dates are the same, I wonder if they are just made up by curators who randomly assign all of Moroni's best works to either 1570 or 1575.
Sadly, not "in vogue" enough. There have been very few exhibitions of Moroni's work. Most recently two of his works were featured in a traveling show of masterpieces from the Accademia Carrara, Bergamo, which is closed for renovations. They have a wonderful roomful of Moronis. The National Gallery in London also has a very fine collection of Moroni's work, which was esteemed by Eastlake, and Mary Cassatt.
There was a small show of his work at the Kimbel Museum in Fort Worth, the only solo show of Moroni hosted in the USA. Moroni was not a great altarpiece painter, but his portraits are superb, under valued, and uncannily modern. One of his masterpieces is in the Worcester Museum of Art In MA.
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