Cardinal Alessandro Farnese (1545 – 1546) by Titian

Cardinal Alessandro Farnese - Titian - 1545 - 1546

Artwork Information

TitleCardinal Alessandro Farnese
Date1545 - 1546
Dimensions97 x 73 cm
Art MovementMannerism (Late Renaissance)

About Cardinal Alessandro Farnese

The artwork titled “Cardinal Alessandro Farnese” is a portrait rendered in oil on canvas, executed by the renowned artist Titian between the years 1545 and 1546. This work is an exemplar of the Mannerism art movement, which was prevalent during the Late Renaissance period. It measures 97 by 73 cm and showcases the genre of portraiture, which was a significant form of art during that era.

The artwork presents a half-length portrait of a man, presumably Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, dressed in the sumptuous red vestments befitting a man of his ecclesiastical standing. The dominant red hues of his attire draw immediate attention, complemented by the delicate white fabric of his undershirt and the intricate lace at his wrists. His gaze is direct, yet possesses a soft quality, engaging the viewer with a sense of calm authority. The subtle handling of light and shadow imbues the painting with a realistic depth, emphasizing the textures of the garments and the features of the sitter’s face.

The cardinal’s status is further communicated by the presence of a fine gold chain around his neck and the crimson cap, known as a biretta, atop his head. His facial expression is introspective and dignified, which is characteristic of Titian’s ability to capture both the physical and psychological essence of his subjects. The dark, almost monochromatic background serves to highlight the figure, focusing the viewer’s attention squarely on the cardinal’s visage and the rich tones of his regalia. The masterful composition and the evocative use of color are illustrative of Titian’s prowess as a portraitist and a key figure within the Mannerist movement, known for its artificial elegance and complexity.

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