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Imitator of Giorgione, A Man in Armour

Key facts
Full title A Man in Armour
Artist Imitator of Giorgione
Artist dates 1473/4? – 1510
Date made probably 17th century
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 39.7 × 27 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Samuel Rogers, 1855
Inventory number NG269
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
A Man in Armour
Imitator of Giorgione

A young man is depicted full length in plate armour and chain mail. He does not wear a helmet but is armed with a sword and holds a lance or possibly the pole of a standard. Dramatic contrasts of light and dark create a mysterious, charged atmosphere. Reflections and glimmers of light and shade define the hard polished surface of the metal. The young man’s head, by contrast, has a soft, smoky quality. His eyes are lowered, and his contemplative mood seems at odds with his warlike costume.

This figure does not appear to be a portrait but seems to derive from the soldier saint at the left of the altarpiece of the Madonna and Saints by Giorgione in the Cathedral at Castelfranco (his home town). The painting, which is first certainly recorded in the early nineteenth century, was for a long time considered to be by Giorgione, but is now thought to be the work of a seventeenth-century imitator.

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