Michelangelo Merisi detto il Caravaggio
wignacourt.jpg :: 15 / 42


(b. 1573, Caravaggio, d. 1610, Porto Ercole)

Portrait of Alof de Wignacourt
Oil on canvas, 195 x 134 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

As Grand Master of the Knights of St John of Malta, Alof de Wignacourt was head of a military order and a sovereign state, and he commissioned this portrait and maybe the second which was probably the model for St Jerome.

The page in charge of Wignacourt's plumed helmet and cloak stands a little awkwardly within the composition, and his lively features would make him an attractive subject of his own right. Caravaggio may have been attempting to rival the portraiture of Titian.

Wignacourt is consciously dignified, relaxed and authoritative. His splendid black and gold Milanese armor glints in the light. Even if he was left-handed, the way he holds the baton, pointing upwards in his right hand and downwards in his left, is uncomfortable. As a reward for this painting Wignacourt gave the painter an honorary knighthood, but within three months the relationship had deteriorated and Caravaggio had fled in disgrace.

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Title: Portrait of Alof de Wignacourt
Time-line: 1551-1600
School: Italian
Form: painting
Type: portrait


| 24/04/2009