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Portrait of Count Fortunato Martinengo Cesaresco (?)

Photo credit: The National Gallery, London

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This lavishly dressed sitter, wearing a coat lined with lynx or snow leopard fur, is the Brescian nobleman and humanist Fortunato Martinengo (1512–1552). Ancient gold and silver coins and a bronze oil lamp in the shape of a foot on the table allude to his scholarly interests, and perhaps also to a pilgrimage to Jerualem that he planned to make. His pose, with his head resting on his hand, is associated with melancholy. The inscription in Greek on his cap means: ‘Alas, I yearn too much.’ It is unclear whether he longs for knowledge, for a person, or for the pilgrimage.

The National Gallery, London



about 1540-5


Oil on canvas


H 114 x W 94.4 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Bought, 1858

Work type



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The National Gallery, London

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London WC2N 5DN England

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