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Leandro Bassano, Portrait of a Bearded Man

Key facts
Full title Portrait of a Bearded Man
Artist Leandro Bassano
Artist dates 1557 - 1622
Date made about 1600
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 66.3 × 55 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1855
Inventory number NG2149
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of a Bearded Man
Leandro Bassano

The identity of the man in this bust-length portrait is unknown but it appears to be a true likeness with little attempt at flattery. The top of the man’s head is visible through his thinning hair, and the texture of his skin and beard have been meticulously painted. Although he frowns, the wrinkles at the corners of his eyes make him appear kindly and careworn. Leandro Bassano often employed this simple bust-length format and frowning expression in his portraits.

The paint surface is very damaged, especially on the face and collar. A partially legible Latin inscription at bottom left suggests that the sitter may have been a successful poet or musician and that he wrote or performed for princes. The style of his dress, particularly the large, loose collar, indicates that the portrait was painted in the last years of the sixteenth century, when Leandro Bassano was most in demand as a portraitist in Venice.

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