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Domenico Fetti (Rome c. 1588-Venice 1623)

Vincenzo Avogadro 1620

Oil on canvas | 115.4 x 90.3 cm (support, canvas/panel/stretcher external) | RCIN 405327

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This portrait conveys the power of the Mantuan rector’s faith. His forbidding expression, sharp cheekbones, combed hair and starched white collar lend the portrait a captivating intensity, a pictorial metaphor for his piety. His knuckles appear pink from the tight grip on his book of prayers, and a vein bulges in his forehead. Both characteristics reveal the potential torment behind such formidable devotion.

Acquired by George III in 1762 as part of the collection of Joseph Smith, British Consul in Venice