(b. 1571, Caravaggio, d. 1610, Porto Ercole)

Portrait of the Poet Giambattista Marino

Oil on canvas, 73 x 60 cm
Private collection

Giambattista Marino (1569-1625) was an Italian poet, founder of the school of Marinism (later Secentismo), which dominated 17th-century Italian poetry. Marino's own work, praised throughout Europe, far surpassed that of his imitators, who carried his complicated word play and elaborate conceits and metaphors to such extremes that Marinism became a pejorative term. His work was translated all over Europe.

Bellori mentions Caravaggo's portrait of Marino and emphasizes that it earned both painter and poet great fame, in particular in the literary academies. The impressive, half-length portrait shows the poet aged around 30, with delicate, still youthful features. He is seen at a slight angle and looks out at the viewer almost a little shyly with wide eyes.