Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
Cardinal Guido Bentivoglio, 1623
Oil on canvas
76 3/4 × 57 7/8 in. (195 × 147 cm)
Galleria Palatina, Palazzo Pitti, Florence
One of the masterpieces of seventeenth-century portraiture, Van Dyck’s painting of Cardinal Guido Bentivoglio is renowned for the sensitivity of the sitter’s likeness, the elegance of the pose, the daring of its coloring, and the grandeur of its setting. Bentivoglio, who was also a diplomat, patron of the arts, and historian, lived in Flanders in the early seventeenth century, but Van Dyck made the portrait in 1623 in Rome, where he likely resided at the cardinal’s palace. The painting allowed Van Dyck — while drawing inspiration from Italian models, notably Titian — to assert himself as the leading portraitist of his age. An eighteenth-century source records how "the whole of Rome rushed to see that marvel of art, and everyone wanted to be painted by the hand of our artist."