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Giovanni Battista Moroni, A Knight with his Jousting Helmet

Key facts
Full title A Knight with his Jousting Helmet ('Il Cavaliere dal Piede Ferito', Conte Faustino Avogadro (?) )
Artist Giovanni Battista Moroni
Artist dates 1520/4 - 1579
Date made about 1554-8
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 202.3 × 106.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1876
Inventory number NG1022
Location Central Hall
Collection Main Collection
A Knight with his Jousting Helmet
Giovanni Battista Moroni

This portrait was long known as ‘Il Cavaliere dal Piede Ferito’ (‘The knight with the wounded foot’). But the brace supporting the man’s left foot suggests he was suffering from foot-drop, a fairly common disorder caused by the failure of the ankle muscles. The way in which his plate armour has been carelessly strewn about is very unusual. The ruined setting may be intended to highlight the sitter’s enduring virtues. His rapier and helmet would have been worn for tournaments rather than for warfare.

The sitter is thought to be Conte Faustino Avogadro of Brescia. It is possible that the portrait was made to hang with Moretto’s Portrait of a Man, dated 1526, which possibly depicts Faustino’s father, Gerolamo II Avogadro. Moroni’s portrait ‘La Dama in Rosso’ may be of Faustino’s wife, Contessa Lucia Albani Avogadro. All three paintings came to the National Gallery from the Avogadro collection.

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