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Antonio Mancini, 'The Marquis del Grillo', 1889

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: Long Loan to The Hugh Lane (2019 - 2031), Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Dublin, Ireland
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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