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Franciabigio: 'Portrait of a Knight of Rhodes'

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The date of this painting is just visible on the letter carried by the sitter; the words of the letter are otherwise illegible. The melancholy mood of the painting is underlined by the inscription in the parapet which reads, in primitive French, 'who loves well is slow to forget'.

The sitter wears the Maltese Cross of the Order of Saint John; the order was expelled from Rhodes in between 1522 and 1523 and established in Malta in 1530.

The painting recalls the work of Andrea del Sarto. The landscape itself, treated more in the manner of Fra Bartolommeo, is prominent in the design of the painting and may refer to a particular site.

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