Skip to main content

Italian, Portrait Group

Key facts
Full title Portrait Group
Artist Italian
Date made early 20th century
Medium and support Oil and tempera on wood
Dimensions 40.6 × 36.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1923
Inventory number NG3831
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Portrait Group

This picture looks like an Italian Renaissance portrait but is in fact a forgery made in the early twentieth century. It includes elements found in the originals, such as the stone window opening onto a view of the Italian countryside and the view of figures in profile.

It was purchased in 1923 as a fifteenth-century work, possibly by an artist close to Melozzo da Forli (1438–1494). The forger added a stamp with a coat of arms in the top corner intending to suggest the sitters were from the renowned Montefeltro family of Urbino.

By 1951 the picture was recognised as a fake. Scientific investigation of the panel in 1996 revealed that some of the pigments used – including cobalt blue and cadmium yellow – were not available before the nineteenth century. The man’s cap, too, is more like a women’s hat fashionable in around 1913 than a Renaissance garment.

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