Venetians delighted in pomp and tradition. Their leader, the doge, was elected to office for life by the city’s aristocracy. Portraits of doges were common, but Leonardo Loredan (1436-1521), ruler from 1501 until his death, was one of the most frequently depicted. Here Loredan wears the doge’s traditional corno ducale, a horn-shaped hat with an opulent jeweled border. Hints of the garment he wears reveal the sumptuously patterned formal state robes. This incisive portrait captures the solemn, worn features of a leader whose state was constantly in conflict over its territories. The artist is unknown, but he likely worked in the orbit of Danese Cattaneo, who was responsible for the posthumous monument to the doge in the church of SS Giovanni e Paolo. The talented modeler sensitively defines the wrinkles, folds of skin, and details such as the ears covered by the close-fitting cap worn under the corno. The purpose of this bust is unknown, but its careful finish suggests that it was made as a work of art in itself, rather than a model for marble or bronze.
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- Titles Doge Leonardo Loredan (Proper)
- Artist Circle of Danese Cattaneo, Italy, 1509 - 1573
- Medium terracotta (painted?) with traces of gilding
- Dimensions 17 1/4 x 11 1/4 x 9 1/2 in. (43.8 x 28.6 x 24.1 cm)
- Credit Line Museum purchase with funds provided by the Beaux Arts Krewe, 2010.1
- Work Type sculpture
- Classification Sculpture
- Signature none
- Marks none
- Provenance Private Collection, Rome
Christie's London, July 4, 1975
Heim Gallery, London
Arthur M. Sackler, New York (accession no. 77.5.26)