Pietro Perugino (painter)|
Italian, c. 1450 - 1523
Portrait of Lorenzo di Credi, 1488
oil on panel transferred to canvas
original panel: 44 x 30.5 cm (17 5/16 x 12 in.) overall (with added border): 46 x 32.5 cm (18 1/8 x 12 13/16 in.) framed: 63.8 x 50.8 x 5.7 cm (25 1/8 x 20 x 2 1/4 in.)
Object 4 of 6
Before this painting was transferred to a canvas support, an inscription on the back of the original wood panel read, "Lorenzo di Credi, most excellent painter, 1488, age 32 years, 8 months." It was probably added in the sixteenth century, when Credi's reputation was at its height. He was one of many students in the busy Florentine workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio, which also included Perugino and Leonardo da Vinci.
The subject's aquiline nose and jutting chin compare well with another known likeness of Credi as an older man, and for many years the painting was accepted as a self-portrait. Now, however, it is thought to reveal Credi's face—but Perugino's hand. Other landscapes by Perugino have the same silvery quality we see here. Moreover, the strong planes of the face and tousled coiffure more closely resemble Perugino's bolder style than Credi's smoother, more polished painting.
The unusual backward tilt of the head reinforces the melancholy mood established by Credi's sad, distant gaze and set mouth. It has been suggested that Perugino painted this image of Credi just after the death of their beloved master Verrocchio in 1488, the same date inscribed on the panel. Credi was Verrocchio's heir and took over his shop. It was his unhappy task to accompany Verrocchio's remains back to Florence for burial after his death in Venice.
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