DOSSI, Dosso
(b. ca. 1490, Ferrara, d. 1542, Ferrara)

Portrait of a Warrior

1530s
Oil on canvas, 86 x 70 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Dossi was the first Emilian artist to engage in controversy with Venetian culture. He came into contact with the circle of Giorgione and Titian, and was acquainted with Ariosto, or at least showed great enthusiasm for Orlando Furioso (1516). He was, in short, a man of his time.

The art of Dossi gives us images of expanded masses, bright colours, and abstruse, bizarre light effects. This painting, however, which at first sight looks classical and traditional, requires individual explanation. The figure portrayed here with the emblems of a man at arms, reminds us of Giorgione, it is true - which may cause confusion in the attribution of the painting because of the male face stricken with a suffused melancholy - yet the metallic flashing of the light makes the figure alive and at the same time rather disturbing: a strange assemblage of reality and fantasy.