Bindo Altoviti (c. 1515) by Raphael

Bindo Altoviti - Raphael - 1512 - 1515

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Artwork Information

TitleBindo Altoviti
Date1512 - 1515
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions60 x 44 cm
Art MovementHigh Renaissance
Current LocationNational Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

About Bindo Altoviti

The artwork titled “Bindo Altoviti” was created by the eminent High Renaissance artist Raphael between 1512 and 1515. Depicted in oil on canvas, this portrait measures 60 by 44 centimeters and currently resides at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The genre of the artwork is portraiture, a common theme during the Renaissance period that focused on the representation of an individual’s likeness and character.

The portrait features a half-length figure of a young man, presumed to be Bindo Altoviti, who was a wealthy banker and patron of the arts in Renaissance Florence. He is portrayed in a three-quarter view, his body angled toward the viewer’s right, but with his gaze fixed directly ahead, engaging the viewer with a compelling intensity. His head is adorned with a dark, beret-like cap, which was fashionable among young men during the Renaissance.

The subject’s attire consists of a rich blue garment with a delicate, white lace trim visible at the neck, indicating his status and wealth. The light source is from the left, casting subtle shadows across his face and clothing, demonstrating Raphael’s deft handling of chiaroscuro to create a sense of volume and depth. His shoulder-length hair is rendered in fine, golden strands, again highlighting Raphael’s attention to detail and his ability to capture the texture and sheen of hair.

The background is a somber, dark green, serving as a striking contrast to the subject’s fair complexion and light-colored clothing. This choice of background enhances the dramatic effect of the subject’s presence and directs the viewer’s focus onto the figure. Raphael’s use of color, light, and shadow underscores the psychological intensity and contemplative nature of the subject, characteristics that are emblematic of the High Renaissance’s emphasis on individuality and expression.

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