Lavinia Fontana: Trailblazer, Rule Breaker

Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland
6 May – 27 August 2023

The Klesch Collection’s Portrait of Count Gentile Sassatelli was shared with the larger public at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin, as part of the exhibition ‘Lavinia Fontana: Trailblazer, Rule Breaker’, curated by Dr. Aoife Brady.

The exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland mainly focused on Fontana as a portraitist, featuring the Klesch Collection’s Portrait of Count Gentile Sassatelli as a prime example of her most famous genre. A colonel and captain of the Papal State cavalry, Sassatelli (1530s–1583) was a prominent nobleman from Imola and in 1562 he was made a Knight of the Order of St Stephen by Cosimo I de’ Medici (1519–1574). Befitting of Sassatelli’s status and achievements, Fontana chose to depict him in the official aristocratic style of portraiture prevalent in Europe at that time and showcased his wealth and refined taste. The table beside him displays a plumed helmet and intricately embroidered belt holding a dagger, which complement his ceremonial armour. Behind him, an illusionistic recession of rooms hints at the sprawling size of Sassatelli’s palazzo and the upper right corner of the painting features the Sassatelli coat-of-arms, proudly including the Cross of the Order of St Stephen. Measuring 217.5 cm in height, this imposing portrait was intended to hang in the grand salon of an aristocratic palace, ensuring that Sassatelli’s achievements could be admired and remembered for generations to come.

Lavinia Fontana, Portrait of Count Gentile Sassatelli, 1581

Watch video

Click or tap below to listen to the exhibition curator, Dr. Aoife Brady, as she talks about the exhibition, 16th-century Bologna and The Klesch Collection’s painting as an important portrait from early in her career.

Lavinia Fontana: Trailblazer, Rule Breaker

Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland
6 May – 27 August 2023

The Klesch Collection’s Portrait of Count Gentile Sassatelli was shared with the larger public at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin, as part of the exhibition ‘Lavinia Fontana: Trailblazer, Rule Breaker’, curated by Dr. Aoife Brady.

The exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland mainly focused on Fontana as a portraitist, featuring the Klesch Collection’s Portrait of Count Gentile Sassatelli as a prime example of her most famous genre. A colonel and captain of the Papal State cavalry, Sassatelli (1530s–1583) was a prominent nobleman from Imola and in 1562 he was made a Knight of the Order of St Stephen by Cosimo I de’ Medici (1519–1574). Befitting of Sassatelli’s status and achievements, Fontana chose to depict him in the official aristocratic style of portraiture prevalent in Europe at that time and showcased his wealth and refined taste. The table beside him displays a plumed helmet and intricately embroidered belt holding a dagger, which complement his ceremonial armour. Behind him, an illusionistic recession of rooms hints at the sprawling size of Sassatelli’s palazzo and the upper right corner of the painting features the Sassatelli coat-of-arms, proudly including the Cross of the Order of St Stephen. Measuring 217.5 cm in height, this imposing portrait was intended to hang in the grand salon of an aristocratic palace, ensuring that Sassatelli’s achievements could be admired and remembered for generations to come.

Lavinia Fontana, Portrait of Count Gentile Sassatelli, 1581

Watch video

Click or tap below to listen to the exhibition curator, Dr. Aoife Brady, as she talks about the exhibition, 16th-century Bologna and The Klesch Collection’s painting as an important portrait from early in her career.