The portrait of Ranuccio I Farnese

An artist from the Parma area1622/1628

Collezione Fondazione Cariparma

Collezione Fondazione Cariparma
Parma, Italy

The portrait depicts the fourth Duke of Parma and Piacenza, Ranuccio (Parma, 1569-1622) at the age of forty, balding, with a beard and mustache He's sumptuously dressed: he has yellow pantaloons and a meticulously decorated large parade dress which is embroidered with lilies and gold stars and it is quilted with pearls arranged in a double row, with a wide white gorget. Above the dress he's wearing the parade armor inlaid in gold with a scroll in the center with the word "volat" (time is running out), which belonged to his father, now kept in the Capodimonte Museum. He's also wearing a large gold chain with a golden fleece around his neck: the Golden Fleece was a military honor that he received by the king of Spain, Philip III, in 1601. His left arm is resting on the hilt of a sword that is tied around the waist, while the right one is resting on gloves arranged on a shelf, on which there is also a gold helmet, with red and white feathers. The painting is the counterpart to the portrait of his wife, Margherita Aldobrandini, and the two are a rare example of sovereigns portrayed in a couple. The Duchess has also a precious dress, loaded with embroidery and jewels, but it's a mourning dressed. The style of the two characters, the style of the clothes and the choice to display themselves suggest that the two portraits were painted after the death of the Duke, in 1622, and it was destined to celebrate an important political event, perhaps the marriage of his son Odoardo. with Margherita de 'Medici in 1628.


  • Title: The portrait of Ranuccio I Farnese
  • Creator: An artist from the Parma area
  • Date Created: 1622/1628
  • Location Created: Parma
  • Physical Dimensions: cm 150x105
  • Type: painting
  • Rights: Fondazione Cariparma
  • Medium: olio su tela

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