European Painting before 1900, Johnson Collection
Portrait of a Nobleman with Dueling GauntletMade in Italy, Europe
Possibly made in Emilia, Italy, Europe
Artist/maker unknown, active Emilia?, Italian
Oil on canvas
Cat. 238John G. Johnson Collection, 1917
LabelIn sixteenth-century Europe it became fashionable among noblemen to be portrayed standing in armor and posing with martial objects such as maces, commander's batons, or helmets—a reference to their supposed or demonstrated aptitude as warriors and military leaders. The unidentified man in this portrait wears civilian clothes along with a mail shirt; one hand rests on a gauntlet specifically designed for grabbing the blades of swords in duels. The costly hilts of his rapier (sword) and matching dagger, which the artist has depicted here with great care, compete with his face for the viewer's attention.
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