The Poldi Pezzoli Museum hosts a fantastic collection of portraits. Actually, a portrait, the profile of a young lady by Piero del Pollaiuolo has become its symbol. Today over sixty portraits are on show in the Museum rooms, they are mainly paintings.
The profile portrait refers to the classical model of the antique medal, popular in the 15th century. The realistic rendering of clothes’ details and of faces’ features derives from Flemish art.
Portrait of Giovanni Francesco Brivio (Around 1495) by Vincenzo FoppaMuseo Poldi Pezzoli
These half-length portraits, different from each other, have in common the frontal pose. While the profile evokes detachment, the frontal pose allows us to look in the eyes of the sitter.
In full-length portraits the clothes became more and more important. They speak about the status of the sitter and are very useful because they help in dating the artworks.
Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli was fond not only of the Renaissance artists but also of the 18th century painters. Relevant is the Museum group of portraits by Vittore Ghislandi, called Fra Galgario. Among them, the famous Portrait of a knight of the Constantinian order
Portrait of a Knight of the Costantinian Order (around 1740) by Vittore Ghislandi called Fra GalgarioMuseo Poldi Pezzoli
The selfportrait genre is wonderfully represented by two works by Francesco Hayez, who also painted the portrait of Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli, welcoming the visitors at the Museum entrance.