Ansano di Michele Ciampanti (attributed to) - inv. 1549
The panel shows a young man against a dark background, according to a model derived from Flemish portrait painting, very popular in Italian Renaissance. The man’s gaze and traces of two metal hinges on the wood suggest that this work was part of a diptych. Although the features are a little idealised, the figure has an imposing presence and an expressive face: his closed mouth conveys the idea of a resolute man. Shadows ticken on the eyelids, the throat, around the nose and emphasise the high cheekbones and structure of the hand, where the veins have been delicately picked out. His fingers clasp the lapels of his cloak, creating an effect of depth, a gesture typical of late fifteenth-century Tuscan painting. More precisely, the work may come from the area of Lucca and has been assigned to Ansano di Michele Ciampanti. Already known as the Maestro di San Filippo, the artist was a pupil of his father Michele and is mentioned several times in documents, especially in the sixteenth century, when he had most probably taken over the family workshop. A further clue to the provenance of this portrait is a coat of arms that emerged on the back of the panel after cleaning. It shows a tree with fruit flanked by two bears, perhaps bearing some relation to the Orsucci family.