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After Gentile Bellini, Doge Niccolò Marcello

Key facts
Full title Doge Niccolò Marcello
Artist After Gentile Bellini
Artist dates active about 1460; died 1507
Date made after 1474
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 62.2 × 45.1 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated and inscribed
Acquisition credit Layard Bequest, 1916
Inventory number NG3100
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Doge Niccolò Marcello
After Gentile Bellini

The unusual horn-shaped cap and sumptuous silk robes identify this man as a doge, the elected ruler of Venice. We can‘t be sure who he is, but he has been identified in the past as Doge Niccolò Marcello, who was in power briefly from 1473 to 1474. A medal (Bode Museum, Berlin) inscribed with Marcello’s name shows a man with the same bulbous nose and forward-leaning posture as this portrait’s sitter; some have used this to identify him.

It might be a copy of the image of Doge Marcello from the frieze of doges’ portraits in the Doge’s Palace that Gentile Bellini made for the sala del consiglio (state council room) which was destroyed by fire in 1577. The image must have been well-known as Titian made a version of it in the 1540s (now in the Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican, Rome).

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