This bust portrait shows a middle-aged man in three-quarter view facing right. His headwear, known as a beretta, and the stole-like becchetto draped over his right shoulder, serve to characterize the subject as a Venetian. Long, parallel lines run the length of his robe, the vesta, evoking a sense of the fabric’s material quality. A particularly captivating facet of this drawing is the tremendous individuality lent to the subject’s facial features, which are portrayed with sensitivity and extraordinary attention to detail, particularly in the effort put into to capturing the quality of his face and hair. This emphasis upon the individuality of the subject’s physiognomy means that it is in fact possible to link the portrait to an actual historical personality. Based upon a comparison with a profile portrait of the artist Gentile Bellini, as featured on a late 15th century medal by Camelio, art historians have long been of the view that the drawing’s subject is, in fact, the very same person.


  • Title: Self-Portrait(?)
  • Creator: Gentile Bellini
  • Date: c. 1496 - 1497
  • Physical Dimensions: w19.4 x h23.0 cm
  • Type: Drawing
  • Medium: Charcoal on paper
  • Inv.-No.: KdZ 5170
  • ISIL no.: DE-MUS-018511
  • External Link: Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyright: Photo © bpk - Photo Agency / Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Jörg P. Anders │ Text © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Dagmar Korbacher
  • Collection: Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz
  • Artist Place of Death: Venice, Italy
  • Artist Gender: Male
  • Artist Dates: around 1430 - vor/before 23.02.1507

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