A Man embracing a Woman

The subject of this painting is unclear. It was acquired as 'Fiametta and Boccaccio' and was subsequently catalogued as 'A Muse inspiring a Court Poet'. Another possibility is that the male figure represents the clown, Il Gonnella, as the tondo (or circular picture) of which this is a fragment, was said to include a portrait of him.

The original ceiling picture was probably commissioned by Alfonso d'Este for the Castello in Ferrara, north-east Italy. A 17th-century description makes it clear that it originally had five figures; one other figure survives as a fragment in Florence (Fondazione Roberto Longhi).

Key facts

Artist dates
about 1486 - 1542
Full title
A Man embracing a Woman
Date made
Medium and support
Oil on poplar
55.1 x 75.5 cm
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1887
Inventory number
Location in Gallery