Giovanni Gerolamo Grumelli, called Il Cavaliere in Rosa (The Man in Pink)

Oil painting of a young nobleman wearing pink doublet and hose. A rapier hangs from his belt.

Giovanni Battista Moroni
Giovanni Gerolamo Grumelli, called Il Cavaliere in Rosa (The Man in Pink), dated 1560
Oil on canvas
85 x 48 3/8 in. (216 x 123 cm)
Fondazione Museo di Palazzo Moroni, Bergamo – Lucretia Moroni Collection
Inscriptions: On the fictive relief at lower right, MAS EL ÇAGVERO QVE EL PRIMERO [More he who follows than the first]; on the stone fragment at bottom right, M.D.LX / Jo. Bap. Moronus [1560 / Giovanni Battista Moroni].
Photo Mauro Magliani

 
The second husband of Isotta Brembati, Giovanni Gerolamo Grumelli was born into one of the most prominent of Bergamo’s noble families. His opulent attire of woven pink silk with silver plant and flower motifs makes this one of Moroni’s most arresting portraits. Seemingly fallen from the niche above, the sculptural fragment (similar to the torso in Alessandro Vittoria) conveys the passage of time or succession of ages. Correspondingly, the fictive relief on the wall depicts the biblical scene of the prophet Elijah ascending to heaven on his fiery chariot and leaving his miraculous cloak to fall to his successor, Elisha. Along with the Spanish motto, these iconographic details presumably allude to an aspect of the sitter’s biography, though exactly what this might be is unknown.