MORONI, Giovanni Battista
(b. 1525, Albino, d. 1578, Bergamo)

Portrait of Jacopo Foscarini

Oil on canvas, 105 x 84 cm
Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

The reputation of Moroni of Bergamo rests primarily on his numerous portraits although, like his master, Moretto da Brescia, he also painted altarpieces and religious compositions. His models were, for the most part, the patricians, bourgeois scholars and artisans living in the small towns of Northern Italy. Usually he painted them at work with the tools of their particular trade: the scholar is seen holding a book or writing implements, the tailor is about to cut his cloth.

According to a later inscription at the top right, this is a portrait of Jacopo Contarini, Podesta of Padua. However, Padua never had a Podesta of this name and, since it is known that Jacopo Foscarini filled that office when the picture was painted, we can only assume that the inscription is inaccurate and that the portrait is indeed of Foscarini. He is shown as a distinguished man of middle age with an air of seriousness that commands respect. Only the serene harmony of greys and reds resolves the sombre mood of the painting.