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Key facts
Full title The Marquis del Grillo
Artist Antonio Mancini
Artist dates 1852 - 1930
Date made 1889
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 205.7 × 109.2 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Sir Hugh Lane Bequest, 1917, The National Gallery, London. In partnership with Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin.
Inventory number NG3257
Location On loan to Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane
Collection Main Collection
The Marquis del Grillo
Antonio Mancini

The Marquis Giorgio Capranica del Grillo (1849–1922) was a courtier to the Italian Queen Mother, Margherita, a painter in his own right, and a benevolent patron to Mancini. The portrait, one of Mancini’s most ambitious, was painted in Rome in 1889 and intended for the Paris Universal Exhibition that same year but never sent; years later and for reasons unknown the artist re-dated it to 1899. He depicts Grillo as a so-called prince-painter in his sumptuously appointed studio and against a background of tooled leather – elegant, with refined taste, charming and nonchalant. Mancini used his curious invention, the graticola, an irregular grid of strings on a wooden frame set between artist and sitter, to get the image onto the canvas, although how exactly it worked is mysterious. Bought by Hugh Lane, the painting was a kind of pendant in Lane’s collection to another full-length portrait of a seated artist, Manet’s Eva Gonzalès of 1870.

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