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Giovanni Bellini’s Portrait of Doge Leonardo Loredan features some of the most intricate detail of any Renaissance portrait, drawing out the beauty of the subject's formal clothing.
This significant political figure would also feature on local coinage, which enables him to be correctly identified here. His position of Doge translates as Duke and his robes of state confirm this role. He held the position of Doge of Venice from 1501 to 1521, meaning that this painting would have been completed in the same year as his inauguration.
The quality of this depiction ensures that we can immediately identify the specific materials used in his attire and the likely techniques that would have been used to put it together at that time. The handsome gentleman features a dominant nose in line with this part of Europe and also fairly chiseled features which aids the artist's work.
There is a small cartellino close to the bottom of the page which contains the Latin signature of the artist, as Ioannes Bellinvs. It is attached to a parapet and this framed element helps to complete the painting. Bellini himself was a highly respected portrait painter, at a time when some other artistic genres were given prominence in the same way that they are today. His reputation would have helped him receive such prestigious portrait commissions like the one that you find here.
The original artwork is now owned by the National Gallery in London and part of their permanent collection. It is a relatively small portrait at 61.6 cm × 45.1 cm, but still amongst Bellini's most famous paintings, alongside the likes of The Feast of the Gods from 1514. Besides their Portrait of Doge Leonardo Loredan, the National Gallery also hosts a fine collection of other related artworks from around the same period, such as Duccio, Uccello, van Eyck, Lippi, Mantegna, Botticelli, Dürer and Memling.