Alessandro Vittoria

oil painting of bearded young man wearing black garment. In his hands he holds a sculpture of a nude male torso.

Giovanni Battista Moroni
Alessandro Vittoria, ca. 1551
Oil on canvas
32 1/2 x 25 5/8 in. (82.5 x 65 cm)
Gemäldegalerie, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (78)
KHM-Museumsverband

 

The sculptor Alessandro Vittoria owned at least five painted portraits of himself by different artists. Presumably, this is one of the “two large portraits” of him mentioned in the inventory made after his death. The thinness of the painted flesh on the face and the depiction of a figure, with a rolled sleeve, in the process of studying, displaying, or working on a sculpture seem to anticipate Moroni’s Tailor. The portrait was probably painted about 1551, when both painter and sculptor were in Vittoria’s native city of Trent. The precise nature of the sculpture held by the sitter is unclear, and an identical object is not known in Vittoria’s surviving oeuvre. Along with a similar fragment in Moroni’s Man in Pink, it raises the question of the role in Moroni’s artistic practice of classical sculpture, like the antique torso.