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  • Design Credit: Elizabeth Roberts Architec̦ture & Design, Photo Credit: Dustin Aksland. Dimensions: H 45.08 in. x W 36.42 in.
  • Design Credit: Timothy Godbold, Photo Credit: Karl Simone. Dimensions: H 45.08 in. x W 36.42 in.
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Attributed to Carlo Ceresa Portrait of a Gentleman 17 century oil canvas

Late 17th Century



The painting represents the portrait of a young gentleman from the late XVII century, stylishly and modish dressed. The figure is shown perfectly placed in space; the volume of the figure is depicted with great competence, so the body appears realistic and tangible. The Gentleman exhibits an extremely distinguished behavior, and reveals strength and energy together with a genuine liveliness that comes close to cordiality by showing a hint of a smile. This young man was undoubtedly a member of an aristocratic and rich family and he’s portrayed in the arcade of his city palace or maybe in his country villa. The artist who painted the Gentleman was a skilful and appreciated artist, sought-after by aristocratic and rich customers, which is demonstrated also by the refined pose of the portrayed and the attention to the details of his dress. One very fascinating peculiarity is in his costume indeed, distinguished by originality from the majority of that time’s dresses, which were almost always black or at least dark, according to the fashion which prevailed at that time in the Italian Region Lombardy. The painting is attributed to Carlo Ceresa, who was born and worked in that Region. The artist was also famous and appreciated for the meticulous attention to details of the cloth and the faithful and realistic rendition of the features, elements that we find in the Gentleman indeed. The young man wears a military costume, a short layered coat, made of leather or suede; this garment was used under the armor or alone because it was resistant enough to assimilate the strokes of the sword and it was long enough to protect the thighs up to the rim of the boot. Another Gentleman still unknown at the Stibbert Museum (Florence) shows a very similar garment and is dated by the scholars 1660 circa. The sober costume of the Gentleman was enriched by elegant details, such as the Venetian laces, the precious fabric and a hat with many soft feathers, very fashionable at that time and an element of distinction for their value, skillfully represented by the artist in the decorations and in the weave. The Gentleman gracefully holds a walking stick in his right hand; the hat indeed is carried in a charming way; all these signals increase the aristocratic posture of the figure. Besides, remarkable and inventive was the taste of the artiste in creating the harmony between the combination of the two predominant colors white and yellow, perfectly bound together with the dark color of the hat, the background and his hair, emphasizing, while accurately framing it, the face of the Gentleman. Furthermore, very meticulous is the face shading, the hue of the colors in order to render realistic the ruddiness, and the white touches are competently given on the nose and the lips in order to recreate the original brilliance. COMPARISONS BETWEEN THE GENTLEMAN AND CARLO CERESA’S ARTWORKS The Gentleman shows many style comparisons with a number of portraits panted by the Lombard artist Carlo Ceresa in the ’50s of the 17th century; indicative are the comparisons with the portraits of the wealthy family Pesenti from Bergamo (Lombardy), who were important patrons of the painter. In the portrait of a member of this family, Anna Maria Pesenti (dated 1657, private collection Province of Bergamo, picture 5) we find the same mellow, thick brushstroke, the same palette and style used in the face and in the attention to the Gentleman’s hair. We find the same peculiarities in the portrait of Pietro Maria Pesenti (dated 1657 private collection Province of Bergamo, picture 6), where we see also the detail of the ‘split sleeve’ of the Gentleman’s costume, very modish at that time in Lombardy and thus pointing out a secure time and area connection between the Gentleman and this portrait. We also notice in this painting some somatic affinities with the Gentleman: the oval of the face, the considerable nose, the full lips. Carlo Ceresa’s portrait of Lorenzo Sala (1650 circa formerly private collection, Milano, picture 7) shows a very similar pose to the Gentleman’s, the same ‘split sleeve’ and the the same sword on his left side (see picture 1 to compare the swords). CARLO CERESA (San Giovanni Bianco, 1609 – Bergamo, 1679) is documented in San Giovanni Bianco (a town in the Brembana Valley in the province of Bergamo), where he was born, between 1609 and 1636; he had a difficult a childhood lived in extreme poverty. Ceresa then moved to Bergamo where he soon became the accredited painter of the Bergamasque aristocracy, successfully adapting his style and composition to the needs of his patrons.


  • Attributed to
    Carlo Ceresa (1609 - 1679)
  • Creation Year
    Late 17th Century
  • Dimensions
    Height: 45.08 in. (114.5 cm)Width: 36.42 in. (92.5 cm)
  • Medium
  • Movement & Style
  • Period
    Late 17th Century
  • Condition
  • Gallery Location
    Florence, IT
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU124028459822

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    Estimated Customs Duties & Taxes to the Continental US: $0.
    Ships From: Florence, Italy
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