Skip to main content

Giovanni Battista Moroni, Portrait of a Man with Raised Eyebrows

Key facts
Full title Portrait of a Man with Raised Eyebrows
Artist Giovanni Battista Moroni
Artist dates 1520/4 - 1579
Date made about 1570-5
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 45.7 × 37.8 cm
Acquisition credit Layard Bequest, 1916
Inventory number NG3128
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Portrait of a Man with Raised Eyebrows
Giovanni Battista Moroni

An unidentified man regards us with a look of affable irony, his eyebrows raised. His chain mail sleeves and tunic would have been worn beneath plate armour, suggesting that he engages in some form of military activity. Similar costume is worn by noblemen in other portraits by Moroni.

The sitter’s reaction to our presence – raising his eyebrows – creates a strong sense of psychological interaction. This expression is unusual in portraiture at this date although Moroni repeated it elsewhere. The feathery brushstrokes in the face, beard and hair bring a liveliness and spontaneity to this small, intimate portrait, and add to the sense that this is a fleeting expression painted rapidly from life.

Moroni uses unobtrusive diagonals set up by background shadows and the slope of the shoulders to give emphasis to the sitter’s raised eyebrows and the tilt of his head. The subtlety of both expression and composition is characteristic of Moroni’s late work.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo