Project Description

Francesco Torbido was an Italian, Renaissance painter active in Venice and Verona. He was a religious and portrait painter. Torbido is said to have studied with Giorgione. Certainly this double portrait shows the Venetian influence of the renowned artist. From the later part of the 15th century, Venice had a distinctive, thriving and influential art scene. The style is exemplified by deep, rich colors and an attention to light, shade, and texture. This can be seen in the black recesses of the background contrasting with the couple’s highlighted face. The fur cape on the man has been meticulously labored upon. Torbido’s attention to fabric is apparent in the striking differences between the satin of the woman’s dress next to the lace trim and the rough cap of her companion. The couple seems to have been interrupted in the midst of a lover’s exchange. The man’s back is turned away from the viewer yet he turns to make eye contact. Torbido has, with this compositional choice, turned the viewer into the interruption. With this realization comes a feeling of intrusion, the viewer is made aware of the private nature of the conversation that has been stumbled upon. The personalization of this technique paved the way for some of the great masters of portraiture, such as Titian. This piece was donated by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

-Susan Bonta, Class of 2019

Object Details

Francesco Torbido (Italian, 1486-1562)
22 ½” x 28”
Tempera on Panel
Gift of the Kress Foundation