About this artwork

Moroni's vivid portrayal of the distinguished writer from Bergamo, Bressiani, was painted two years after the author's death. His outward gaze and the way in which he turns in his chair contribute to the work's striking impact. The table provided a surface for the display of objects associated with Bressiani, who is shown holding a pen and paper. Alongside bound volumes and sheets of verse, are an inkwell in the shape of a foot, and an early form of blotter, called a pounce-pot, which was used for sprinkling sand over wet ink.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
    Giovanni Battista Moroni (about 1522 - 1578) Italian
  • title:
    Portrait of Giovanni Bressani (1490 - 1560)
  • date created:
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    116.20 x 88.80 cm; Framed: 143.50 x 110.10 x 11.80 cm / 41.00 kg
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased by Private Treaty 1977
  • accession number:
    NG 2347
  • gallery:
  • depicted:
  • artwork photographed by:
    Antonia Reeve
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Giovanni Battista Moroni

Giovanni Battista Moroni

Moroni painted a wide range of subjects including religious and allegorical themes, but is best known for his exceptionally skilful portraits. He was born in Albino near Bergamo, where he spent most of his working life. He trained with Moretto in Brescia and worked in Trent, during the first sittings of the Council set up by the catholic authorities in response to the Reformation. Moroni's religious compositions remained conservative and traditional. In portraits, however, he showed considerable invention in both settings and poses, in addition to a remarkable eye for natural detail.