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The painting is the copy of a detail from "Ranuccio Farnese" (1542) by the Italian Renaissance master Titian from Venice. The original hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. It has always been one of my favorite Old Masters' paintings, so when Danni Dawson gave us a grisaille/glazing assignment, I decided to make a copy of a detail from it.
This portrait of twelve-year-old Ranuccio was painted in Venice just after he had been made prior of San Giovanni dei Forlani, an important property belonging to the Knights of Malta. The grandson of Pope Paul III, Ranuccio was the youngest member of one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in Italy.
Ranuccio became cardinal of Santa Lucia in Sicily at the age of fifteen, and he was granted several bishoprics before his untimely death at the age of thirty-five. In this perceptive portrait, Titian brilliantly captures the image of a sensitive pubescent boy about to embark upon a very public life.