Luigi Crespi - inv. 254

Luigi Crespi (1708-1779)

Portrait of a Gentleman
1759 c.
109 x 88 cm
1879 bequest Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli
Inv. 254

A middle-aged man, in an elegant pose, is looking straight at the spectator, his right hand on his hip and his left resting on the back of a chair. He is wearing a waistcoat with richly decorated gold trimming on a shirt with full ruffled sleeves, fastened at the neck by a loose tie. It has been thought that the sitter is the artist himself, Luigi Crespi, since his self-portraits (Florence, Uffizi; Bologna, Pinacoteca Nazionale; Venice, Galleria dell’Accademia) present similar facial features, although not identical. For its relationship with similar works, the painting probably dates to the end of the 1750s. Restoration completed in January 2003 revealed a dense pictorial surface, enriched with touches of colour added with the tip of the brush to the decorative details of the clothes and the chair.

Luigi Crespi, son of the renowned Bolognese painter Giuseppe Maria, began his training in his father’s workshop. As a writer, He completed Carlo Cesare Malvasia’s Felsina Pittrice, with a third volume about the lives and works of his contemporary Bolognese artists. As a painter, he was skilful at capturing the aspects of the society, especially in his portraits. He worked at the courts of Vienna and Dresden.