Restored paintings

Portrait of Giovanni dalle Bande Nere (Gian Paolo Pace - Venice, documented from 1528 to 1560)
Oil on canvas, 97 x 89 cm - Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

painting exhibited at the Uffizi Gallery


The painting has an interesting history which it is worth relating, even briefly. In his 1568 edition of the "Lives of the Artists", Vasari wrote that Pietro Aretino had made a gift to Cosimo I of a portrait of his father, Giovanni dalle Bande Nere. The fearless military commander died in Mantua in 1526 and Aretino, who also happened to be in the city at the time, had a dead mask made from the body by Giulio Romano. It was to this mask that Aretino referred in a letter, written in November 1545, to Gian Paolo Pace, who painted the portrait. "Thanks to the miracles you are capable of achieving with your paintbrush, you have transfused living colour to the effigy, dully transfixed in the amber of death." He went on to express his pleasure in being able to present Cosimo with such a good image of his "immortal father". A month earlier, in fact, Aretino had written to Cosimo that the portrait of his father should have been painted by Titian but, as the artist already had other committments, the work was to be done by another artist who was, however, equally skilled. "I will send you a calm and fearsome image [] as if by the hand of that excellent artist". Now expertly restored, the shining armour complements Giovannis stern profile and the light illuminates his features, enlivening that expression which death has extinguished.
Antonio Natali
(Director of Renaissance and Mannerism Department Uffizi Gallery - Florence)

restoration notes by Mariarita Signorini (in italian)


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