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Vincenzo Catena, Portrait of the Doge, Andrea Gritti

Key facts
Full title Portrait of the Doge, Andrea Gritti
Artist Vincenzo Catena
Artist dates active 1506 - 1531
Date made probably 1523-31
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 97.2 × 79.4 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Mrs Otto Gutekunst in memory of her husband, 1947
Inventory number NG5751
Location Room 29
Collection Main Collection
Portrait of the Doge, Andrea Gritti
Vincenzo Catena

Andrea Gritti (1455–1538) was elected doge (head of the Venetian state) in 1523, and this painting was probably made soon afterwards. He wears his robes of office and on his left hand is a gold ring with a device representing the doge kneeling before Saint Mark, patron saint of Venice.

Catena’s portrait conveys the power and authority of Gritti, who had a distinguished military and diplomatic career. His face is represented almost in profile against a dark background, like the profile of a ruler on a medal. He appears to be looking towards someone outside the picture and gesturing down to us. The portrait may have originally hung near a religious image, perhaps of Christ or the Virgin and Child, for the doge’s attitude is one of dignified adoration. Gritti may have been appealing to them on our behalf, or his pointing right hand could be a rhetorical gesture, reminding us of his skills as a politician.

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