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Italian, Portrait of an Old Man

Key facts
Full title Portrait of an Old Man
Artist Italian
Date made early 16th century
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 76.2 × 62.9 cm
Acquisition credit Layard Bequest, 1916
Inventory number NG3130
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Portrait of an Old Man

We do not know the identity of the man in this very damaged portrait. His clothes are typical of Venice and suggest a date in the early sixteenth century. He is shown three-quarter length, facing the left, his hand holding the stola (cloth sash) draped over his shoulder. His sleeve is lined with grey fur, and the only ornament is the delicate gold ring with a green stone on his finger.

The artist has meticulously recorded the lines and wrinkles of the man’s ageing face, with an attention to naturalistic detail that derives from Netherlandish portraiture. In the past the portrait has been attributed to Giovanni Bellini, Gentile Bellini, a follower of Gentile Bellini, Titian, Giorgione and Domenico Morone. However, it is too damaged to tell with certainty who painted it.

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