GORDIGIANI, Michele
(b. 1830, Firenze, d. 1909, Firenze)

Portrait of Thomas Carlyle

1869-70
Oil on canvas, 52 x 42 cm
Galleria dell'Arte Moderna, Palazzo Pitti, Florence

A sense of sober austerity emanates from the face of the prominent Scottish philosopher and historian Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), best known today for his study on The French Revolution (published 1837). The sitter's white hair contrasts with the nearly black background, evoking reminiscences of contemporary photography in the manner of English photographer Margaret Cameron. An established portrait painter, Gordigiani at times shared his numerous commissions with his friend and fellow artist Giovanni Boldini.