Giovanni Battista Moroni
Gabriele Albani (?), ca. 1572–73
Oil on canvas
43 1/4 x 30 1/4 in. (110 x 77 cm)
Moroni rarely used this type of majestic frontal pose. Partially obscured by the lynx lining of his black silk damask gown, the sitter’s gold chain suspending a cross and winged lion connotes the endowment of a knighthood, presumably the Order of the Knights of St. Mark. The sitter was once believed to be Gian Gerolamo Albani, the most famous member of the Albani family and father of Lucia Albani. However, the recent proposal that he is Gabriele Albani, a lesser-known relative, was made on the basis of provenance history and is likely correct. The portrait has been associated with an anecdote in which Titian recommends a Bergamasque gentleman visiting Venice to have his portrait painted by Moroni in his native town; returning to Bergamo, the man recounted the episode to Moroni, who painted the “stupendous portrait” believed to be the present work.