Saturday, January 31, 2015

Real Men Wear Pink

From Supremacy and Survival:
My husband went with me last year to the Josephine exhibition at the Musée du Luxembourg.

One painting that caught my eye was the Portrait de Gian Girolamo Grumelli dit “le Chevalier en rose”, 1561 by Giovan Battista Moroni. It is now included in an exhibition of Moroni's portraits at the Royal Academy in London. Piers Baker-Bates reviews the exhibition for History Today:
Moroni excelled above all as a portrait painter and the psychologically acute works on display at the Royal Academy should cement his reputation, although, arguably, the few religious works shown here are qualitatively on a par with the portraits. The exhibition takes us chronologically through Moroni’s career and illustrates clearly how his artistic trajectory developed. Particular attention has been paid to the background and hang, which superbly set off the paintings displayed. 
He mentions le Chevalier en rose:
For example, take the portrait of Giovanni Gerolamo Grumelli, the so-called Man in Pink (pictured above). Grumelli’s salmon pink, elaborately trimmed, costume dominates the room in which his portrait hangs. At the same time the cryptic motto of the sitter in the bottom right corner of the painting is not written in his native Italian, but in Spanish: Mas el çaguero que el primero (‘Better the latter than the former’). It is the dramatic realism of such portraits that struck the Victorians and that still impresses us today, as does Moroni’s ability to depict fabrics and textures. (Read more.)

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