Skip to main content

Titian, Portrait of Girolamo Fracastoro

Key facts
Full title Portrait of Girolamo Fracastoro
Artist Titian
Artist dates active about 1506; died 1576
Date made about 1528
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 84 × 73.5 cm
Acquisition credit Mond Bequest, 1924
Inventory number NG3949
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of Girolamo Fracastoro

Girolamo Fracastoro (1476/8–1553), a celebrated medical doctor, as well as an astronomer, mathematician and poet, proposed the theory of contagion and in 1530 wrote an epic poem that gave the name ’syphilis' to the virulent, sexually transmitted disease that was ravaging Italy in that period.

Although the painting is damaged and most of the modelling of the black parts of the coat has been lost, Titian’s touch seems especially apparent in the painting of the lynx fur collar. The thick broken brushstrokes down the brightly lit left edge of the fur remain remarkably fresh, as do the fine lines scratched into the white paint of the fur tufts trapped in the seams of the sleeve.

The sitter’s dynamic pose, turning to look at us over his shoulder with his arm resting on a parapet, is reminiscent of Titian’s Portrait of Gerolamo (?) Barbarigo of about 1510, also in the National Gallery.

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