portrait of prince virginio orsini follower of jacob ferdinand voet

Portrait of Prince Virginio Orsini; Follower of Jacob Ferdinand Voet



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Oil on canvas; Prince VIRGINIO ORSINI, Knight of Malta,of the ducal family of Bracciano, born 1615; died 21 August, 1676. He renounced his birthright in his youth, entered the military order of the Knights of Malta, (in the portrait he wears their symbol, the Maltese Cross), and more than once distinguished himself in the war against the Turks by his reckless bravery.
In December, 1641, Pope Urban VIII raised him to the dignity of Cardinal, and appointed him Protector of the Polish as well as of the Portuguese Orient. He was commissioned to direct the building of the new fortifications with which Urban VIII enclosed the Leonine City and a quarter of Trastevere, and which are still in existence. In 1675 he became Cardinal Bishop of Frascati, but died the following year.
The ORSINIS were one of the most ancient and distinguished families of the Roman nobility, whose members often played an important rôle in the history of Italy, particularly in that of Rome and of the Papal States.
They had large possessions in Italy and were the rulers of numerous and important dominions, fortified towns, and strongholds. In Rome, the Orsini were the hereditary enemies of the equally distinguished Colonna: in the great medieval conflict between papacy and empire, the latter were for the most part on the side of the emperor and the leaders of the Ghibelline party, while the Orsini were ordinarily champions of the papacy and leaders of the Guelph party. The Orsini gave three popes to the Church -- Celestine III, Nicholas III, and Benedict XIII -- as well as many cardinals and numerous bishops and prelates. Other members of the family distinguished themselves in political history as warriors or statesmen, and others won renown in the fields of art and science. They influenced in a very prominent manner the general historical development of that time.
JACOB FERDINAND VOET (1639 - c.1700) was a Flemish painter who made his career in Rome in the second half of the 17th century.
He was an expert portrait painter who combined solid Flemish professionalism with stylistic features from French and Italian Baroque portraiture.
Little is known of Voet's early life in Antwerp. He arrived in Rome in 1663, probably via France. Voet became a much sought-after portrait painter to the Papal court and the Roman aristocracy. Certain Englishmen who visited Rome on their Grand Tour, also commissioned Voet to paint their portraits. Voet specialized in half-length portraits, in which all attention is concentrated on the subject, who emerges from a neutral, dark background. He was a sophisticated master of his medium, painting with an effortless accuracy and a fluid ease. Voet's subjects tend to have a reflective expression. Usually they have very striking, memorable eyes, always large and evocative.
SIZE: canvas 25.75 x 21.25 inches
PROVENANCE: Italian Private Collection
Internal Ref: 8481

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