Portland Art Museum Acquire Portrait by Carlo Ceresa

April 19 2021

Image of Portland Art Museum Acquire Portrait by Carlo Ceresa

Picture: Portland Art Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Dawson W. Carr, outgoing The Janet and Richard Geary Curator of European Art at the Portland Art Museum, has announced the museum's acquisition of Carlo Ceresa’s Portrait of Baron Ignazio de Pizzis (pictured). The announcement was made last week on the day of Carr's retirement.

In the curator's own words:

Ceresa was the leading portraitist in the lovely North Italian city of Bergamo in the 1600s, but his reputation extended far beyond his native land. This portrait was commissioned by Baron de Pizzis, the lord of the town of Ortona, which lies about thirty miles south of Pescara on Italy’s Adriatic coast. In creating this swashbuckling image, Ceresa followed the tradition of depicting European rulers as Christian knights. The Baron is shown in partial armor with his sword at his side and his helmet resting on the table. The red sash indicates that he was a partisan of the Catholic cause in the religious wars of the period, but does not necessarily mean that he was a soldier. The rich silver velvet clothes and fashionable high boots signify that the Baron also wanted to project his wealth and status.

The painting adds a male ruler portrait to Felipe Diriksen’s full-length portrait of a Spanish princess, María Ana de Austria, which the Museum acquired in 2017. The canvases are nearly the same size and will beautifully interact with each other when Ceresa’s painting is installed in the Meier Gallery this summer after undergoing minor restoration. The Museum’s European collection includes few large-scale paintings and I am thrilled that this portrait will enhance the representation of seventeenth-century art in Portland. I owe a great debt to the people who made this purchase possible!

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