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Jacopino del Conte

Portrait of Bindo Altoviti


Jacopino del Conte
Florence 1510 – Rome 1598


Portrait of Bindo Altoviti


Early 1550s


Oil on wood


128.5 x 103 cm


Purchase, Edward Cleghorn Memorial Fund, inv. 2000.14


Western Art

Italian Mannerist portraiture delights in games of artifice, often making references to the process of art-making itself. In this portrait of a Roman banker, the sitter’s large, ungloved hand gestures towards a conspicuous image of a sculpture in a stormy landscape. The virtues of painting versus sculpture were hotly debated during this period, which also saw new fascination with the idea that personality determined artistic style or manner, called maniera in Italian (from the word mano, meaning hand). Learned viewers would have recognized this portrait as a celebration of the sitter as well as a commentary on the power of the painter’s “hand” to transform people, environments and objects – including sculptures – into two-dimensional images.

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