Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione (c. 1514-15) by Raphael

Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione - Raphael - 1516

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Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of Baldassare Castiglione
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions82 x 67 cm
Art MovementHigh Renaissance
Current LocationLouvre, Paris, France

About Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione

The artwork “Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione” is a masterful oil on canvas painting by the eminent High Renaissance artist Raphael, created in the year 1516. Measuring 82 by 67 centimeters, the portrait is celebrated for its refined depiction of the Italian diplomat Baldassare Castiglione. The piece currently resides in the prestigious Louvre Museum in Paris, France, where it continues to draw admiration from audiences worldwide.

The portrait is characterized by its display of subtlety and poise, capturing not only the likeness but also the essence of Baldassare Castiglione. The subject is presented in three-quarter view, wearing a dark, sumptuous garment that signifies his status. His attire includes a fur-lined robe and a black hat, hinting at the fashion of the period. The white collar of his shirt delicately emerges from the robe, offering a stark contrast to the dark clothing and imbuing the composition with a touch of elegance.

One can observe the remarkable attention to detail in the rendering of textures, from the soft fur to the folds of the fabric. The background is understated, which directs the viewer’s focus to the subject’s face and expression. The subject’s gaze projects warmth and intelligence, features befitting his reputation as a courtier and the author of “The Book of the Courtier.”

Raphael’s masterful use of sfumato lends a gentle transition between the subject’s facial features and the surrounding tones, resulting in a lifelike appearance. The light source in the painting subtly highlights the countenance and hands of Castiglione, emphasizing his serene demeanor and the contemplative nature of the work.

Overall, the artwork is a quintessential representation of High Renaissance portraiture. It amalgamates the technical precision and humanistic spirit of the era, immortalizing Castiglione with a psychological depth that extends beyond the canvas. Raphael’s “Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione” remains one of the most esteemed portraits of the Renaissance, lauded for its graceful composition and enduring portrayal of a renowned historical figure.

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