ROBERTI, Ercole de'
(b. 1456, Ferrara, d. 1496, Ferrara)

Portrait of Giovanni II Bentivoglio

c. 1480
Oil on wood, 54 x 38 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington

The subject of this painting, a companion-piece to the portrait of his wife Ginevra Bentivoglio, was ruler of Bologna for thirty-three years. Quattrocento portraits were expected to trace with cartographic precision exact physical appearences. Profile portraits were probably preferred because they recall imperial likenesses on ancient Roman coins.