Raphael & the Beautiful Banker: The Story of the Bindo Altoviti Portrait

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Yale University Press, 2005 - Art - 261 pages
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Five centuries ago a stunningly beautiful young man with flowing blond locks sat for a portrait by Raphael. In the artist’s dynamic conception, Bindo Altoviti turns as if to speak to his Florentine bride, Fiammetta. Ardently admired over the years, as it is today, Raphael’s portrait was also coolly received by more than one influential critic who cast a shadow on its reputation. This gloriously illustrated book tells the story of the portrait’s creation and of its unexpected trajectory through history.
Focusing on viewers’ responses to Bindo Altoviti, the book describes the transformation of the picture from a family treasure into a supposed self-portrait of the artist; its public display in Munich, where first it was celebrated, then dismissed by skeptics claiming that it was neither of nor by Raphael; and its acquisition by canny English dealers who lured the panel out of Nazi Germany. Purchased as a Raphael by American collector Samuel H. Kress, the painting was donated in 1943 to the newly opened National Gallery of Art, where Bindo’s image has beguiled visitors ever since.

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Raphael and the beautiful banker: the story of the Bindo Altoviti portrait

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Raphael's portrait of a young man with blond locks, the Bindo Altoviti Portrait, is considered by many one of the most beautiful portraits in Western art. Curator Brown (National Gallery of Art ... Read full review

About the author (2005)

David Alan Brown is curator of Italian paintings at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Jane Van Nimmen is an independent scholar living in Vienna.

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