Portrait of a Man in Armor
This stately man in armor confidently thrusts his sword. The artist revels in describing the varied materials and textures – the sheen of the armor, the flutter of the feathers, the luster of the sword, and fine hairs of his beard. Complementing his assertive stance, the man’s side-long glance suggests thought, and his pert lips and slight wink convey pluck and ingenuity.
When Romanino executed this painting he had just moved to Padua, 25 miles from Venice. The sitter’s plush, theatrical hat is adorned with ostrich feathers, a common luxury item coming through the port of Venice. The hat features the more common brown feather as opposed to the rarer white from the female birds. The hat’s prominence in the picture serves to mark the sitter’s cosmopolitanism and rank.