Portrait of Ferdinand of Austria
Old Master Paintings
|Medium, technique||tempera and gold on ash|
painted surface: 90.5 × 59.6 cm
|Collection||Old Master Paintings|
|On view||Museum of Fine Arts, First Floor, European Art 1250-1600, Gallery XII|
Alvaro Pirez was born in Évora, Portugal, but his activity as a painter is known from Italy only. He worked mainly in Tuscany (Prato, Lucca, Pisa, Volterra) but also received a commission from Nola near Naples.
The Budapest painting originates from the area of Bari in South Italy, although it was probably not executed there. It once depicted the Risen Christ in full figure and may have adorned a pillar in a church. Christ’s monumental, blessing figure is silhouetted against a resplendent gold background. His symmetrical face is framed by regularly arranged hair and a wide punched halo. His penetrating, almost hypnotic gaze, his expression radiating peace, and his motionless pose proclaim the eternal message of Redemption.
Whereas in Florence the new Renaissance style based on the conscious revival of the formal language of antiquity and the imitation of nature was already gaining ground between the 1410s and 1430s, this work by Alvaro Pirez still shows the unusual and vivid colour effects, elongated forms, and shallow depth of space characteristic of the Tuscan late Gothic style. The only element suggesting spatiality is the sweeping, sinuous banner, a symbol of the Saviour’s triumph over death.
This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.