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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Baldassare Castiglione

Baldassare Castiglione (1478-1529)
portrait by Raffaelle Sanzio
probably winter 1514–1515
oil on canvas
Musée du Louvre
room 8: Grande Galerie. Denon, 1st floor
(source: wikimedia)
no copyright infringement intended

Author, courtier and diplomat, poet and soldier, considered a quintessential example of High Renaissance gentleman. At his death, the Emperor Charles V famously said, Yo vos digo que es muerto unos de los mejores caballeros del mundo.

In Raphael's portrait, Castiglione traits are caught with great subtlety: the finesse and elegance of execution is consistent with the subject's finesse and elegance.

Castiglione was sensitive, scrupulous and hard-working. It is refreshing to remember that the daunting paragon of refinement and courtesy was also indecisive, fussy, snobbish and ambitious; that his half-hearted approaches to marriage were inspired by his urgent need for money (his eventual marriage, none the less, was extremely happy); that he was not at all distinguished as a commander and indeed sickened by battle; that he was more than once suspected of treacherous conduct; and that he was excessively fond of fine clothes and horses. In short, he was very human.


(Una Vita Tra I Libri)

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