Andrea Mantegna (Isola di Carturo- Padua, 1431 - Mantua, 1506)
In this expressive profile portrait, the light emphasizes the features of the face. The realism is evident in the stubble on the man’s chin and in the swollen veins at his temple. His clothes and headdress suggest that he might have been a Venetian magistrate.
The painting is valuable not only for its high quality and for the fame of the artist, but also for the richness of the materials used. The sober background, which today appears very dark, must not deceive us: originally, it was a brilliant light blue obtained from lapis lazuli, which was very expensive. The choice of a profile position is a clear reference to the celebratory classical model of ancient coins and medals.
The work is datable to an early phase in Andrea Mantegna’s career, around 1450.