Angelo Bronzino, Venus, Cupid and Satyr

Among the twenty-one paintings by Titian displayed in that treasure-house that is the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, one of the finest and best preserved is a magnificent likeness of the poet and historian Benedetto Varchi (1503–65), a Florentine humanist. The handsome young man is portrayed wearing a dark, unadorned academic’s gown; the object of his serene but oblique gaze is unseen at right. What Varchi nonchalantly holds in his right hand is probably a petrarchino,or small edition of Petrarch’s sonnets. As in his best portraits, Titian conveys to the viewer a direct and natural glimpse...

 
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