Jan 30, 2008

A Young Man

A Young Man

c. 1700

Orazio Marinali

(Italian, 1643–1720)


Overall: 26.5 x 20.6 x 5.1 cm (10 7/16 x 8 1/8 x 2 in.)

Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1991.75



During the late 1600s, Marinali produced several groups of profiles in low relief to decorate palaces in Venice. Traces of mortar appear on the back of this work, suggesting that it was once installed in masonry. Originally, the profiles would have been framed, probably with wood, and installed as part of a secular architectural decoration in a series, perhaps in a garden or on an entrance portal. These profile heads typically portrayed either virtuous male figures or anonymous studies of facial types. Starting in the Renaissance, many wealthy Italians built collections that combined antiquities with contemporary paintings and sculpture. Marinali's work played on this interest by juxtaposing a type of profile found on ancient and Renaissance coins and medals with a contemporary interest in physiognomy and the representation of affect and temperament.

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