ROBUSTI, Marietta
(b. ca. 1554, Venezia, d. ca. 1590, Venezia)

Portrait of Ottavio Strada

1567-68
Oil on canvas, 128 x 101 cm
Stedelijkmuseum, Amsterdam

The artist Marietta Robusti, Jacopo Tintoretto's favourite daughter, pupil, and assistant, aged about 16 when she painted this portrait, subliminally reveals the character of her sitter, the young art dealer Ottavio Strada (1550-1607). With an expression of assumed innocence, he greedily accepts the gold and silver coins poured into his hand from a cornucopia by a female allegorical figure. He anxiously clutches a small, apparently classical statue he has just acquired, index ringer insinuated significantly between its legs. It is not surprising that the life-size statue of Venus - perhaps a self-portrait of the young painter herself - is turning away as if in distaste.