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Probably by Girolamo Macchietti, A Knight of S. Stefano

Key facts
Full title A Knight of S. Stefano
Artist Probably by Girolamo Macchietti
Artist dates 1535 - 1592
Date made after 1563
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 209.5 × 121.2 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by G.F. Watts RA, 1861
Inventory number NG670
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
A Knight of S. Stefano
Probably by Girolamo Macchietti

The sitter wears the red cross of the military order of S. Stefano, founded in Pisa in 1561 by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I de' Medici. Behind the man’s head is a niche containing a sculpture group of a woman and child. Several books of various sizes are propped up on the ledge of the panelling and against the niche. The letters, pen and inkstand on the table, and the books and statue above, allude to his status and learned interests.

Independent life-size and full-length portraits are fairly rare in Tuscan sixteenth-century art. The painting was once thought to be by Alessandro Allori, successor to Bronzino as painter to the Medici court in Florence. However, it is closer in style to the work of Girolamo Macchietti who worked for the Medici as well and who painted The Charity of Saint Nicholas of Bari, also in the National Gallery collection.

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