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Portrait of Giambattista Memmo

Artist/Maker: Vincenzo di Biagio Catena (Italy, ca. 1470-1531)

Date: ca. 1510
Medium: tempera on wood
Dimensions:
Sight: 17 1/2 x 14 in. (44.5 x 35.6 cm)
Framed: 25 3/4 x 21 1/2 x 4 in. (65.4 x 54.6 x 10.2 cm)
Classification: Art Works
Credit Line: Gift of The Samuel H. Kress Foundation
Object number: 61.015.000
DescriptionThe dignified subject of this portrait, Giambattista Memmo (d. 1536), is typical of the individuals celebrated for their individual character and achievements in Renaissance portraiture. Memmo came from one the most illustrious, ancient families of Venice whose members included doges and procurators of St. Mark’s, the highest honors attainable within the Venetian oligarchy. A distinguished mathematician and Greek translator, he was awarded a chair in mathematics at the University of Venice in 1530. A copy of this portrait, inscribed “GIOVANNI BAPTISTUS MEMMI MDXXIX,” is in the Palazzo Mocenigo at San Samuele in Venice. The format of the portrait – a half-length figure in three-quarter view, silhouetted against a deep landscape background – recalls the late portraits of the premier Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini (ca. 1431/6-1516), to whom the Lowe’s portrait was attributed when it entered the museum’s collection. Catena’s mastery in rendering textures is revealed in his refined execution of the sitter’s soft hair and the gold embroidery and delicate folds of his white undergarment.
Not on view
In Collection(s)