A relatively unknown 16th century portrait painter is a major revelation

A relatively unknown 16th century portrait painter is a major revelation

Robert Tanitch at Moroni Exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts/Sackler Wing, London

Moroni exhibitionGiovanni Battista Moroni (1521/24 – 1579/80) is going to be a revelation to many people.  One of the greatest portrait painters of sixteenth century Italy, he did not achieve international acclaim until the 19th century.

Today he still remains relatively unknown. He shouldn’t be. His portraits are so real; the faces so modern. The portraits have an impressive spontaneity and an emotional depth.

They are living documents, genuine images, and notable for their psychological reality and amazing, too, in their immediacy.

Their impact is undeniable and so very different to his religious and idealised tableaux, which serve a spiritual and not an earthly purpose.

Moroni exhibition2Moroni painted his portraits “from nature”, in front of his model. The final gallery has his masterpiece, the celebrated and memorable Portrait of a Tailor.

The man, as charismatic as the aristocracy he serves, does not seem to be posing at all for his portrait. He has been caught in the workplace, just as he is about to cut some material.

Moroni captures him at the moment he looks up to see who has come to see him.

He stares out of the canvas unflinchingly, summing you up, and you will find yourself staring back at him, totally fixed.

The exhibition runs until 25 January 2015. Do not miss. I repeat, do not miss.

To learn more about Robert Tanitch and his reviews, click here to visit to his website