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A Knight with his Jousting Helmet

Giovanni Battista Moroniabout 1554-8

The National Gallery, London

The National Gallery, London

The portrait is an early work by Moroni, probably of the later 1550s, and from the Avogadro collection in Brescia. The soldier represented is probably one of the sons of Gerolamo Avogadro, the likely sitter in Moretto's full-length portrait of 1526, which is in the National Gallery Collection ('Portrait of Man').

As in other early Moroni portraits the ruined setting may be intended to highlight the endurance of the virtues which the sitter represents.

Moroni makes little outward attempt to idealise his subject, who is shown as a relatively frail figure against a background of crumbling architecture and with armour laid out at his feet. A helmet decorated with festive plumes is given prominence on the ledge to the right.

A brace on the soldier's left leg, the 'piede ferito' (wounded foot) that gives the painting its popular title, may indicate a wound sustained in a battle or a joust, or a congenital deformity.

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Details

  • Title: A Knight with his Jousting Helmet
  • Creator: Giovanni Battista Moroni
  • Date Created: about 1554-8
  • Physical Dimensions: 202.3 x 106.5 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • School: Italian (Bergamo)
  • More Info: Explore the National Gallery’s paintings online
  • Inventory number: NG1022
  • Full Title: A Knight with his Jousting Helmet ('Il Cavaliere dal Piede Ferito', Conte Faustino Avogadro (?) )
  • Artist Biography: Moroni is one of the most famous North Italian portrait specialists of the 16th century. He was a native of Albino, near Bergamo. In his early years he worked in Brescia and at Trent (1551-2). Later altarpieces and portraits were painted for clients in and around Bergamo and Albino, where he settled in 1561. His portraits have great psychological penetration, which owes less to his master and more to the Venetian tradition of portraiture as it had been evolved by Giorgione and Titian.
  • Acquisition Credit: Bought, 1876

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