Vincenzo di Biagio Catena, Italian, c.1470-1531 and
Title: Giorgio Cornaro (1452-1527) and his Son Francesco Cornaro (1478-1543)
Date: c.1520-1530 and c.1510-1520
Medium: Oil on wood panel
63 x 98 cm
Credit Line: Purchased, 1867
Object Number: NGI.100
DescriptionIn the past, the two personages seen in this picture were believed to be the poets Andrea Navagero and Agostino Beazzano. We now know that this identification was incorrect because of a painting by Raphael in which the two men appear quite dissimilar.

The authorship of the picture has also cause puzzlement. While the young man on the right, wearing the coat of some religious confraternity, appears to have been convincingly executed by Vincenzo Catena, the man on the left, probably a representative of the Venetian oligarchy, seems to have been painted by a competent, different artist. Although collaboration between different painters is common, it seems that this picture may have been started by one artist and finished by another. However, both sitters share a formal appearance and, even if dressed differently, they both seem to wear ceremonial costumes as though protagonists in a particular social event.

Nothing is known about the origins of Vincenzo Catena. We presume that he was born in Venice. For a long time he was an eclectic follower of Giovanni Bellini. He appears to have had many friends in Venetian humanist circles. His later contact with Giorgione was very important and, after that artist's death, he developed a style which largely reflects Giorgione's manner.

(National Gallery of Ireland: Essential Guide, 2008)

ProvenanceCardinal Fesch; Palazzo Ricci, Rome, 17 March 1845 and following, Cardinal Fesch sale, bt. Aguado; bought by Pourtales; presented to Delaroche; Delaroche sale, bt. M.M. Auguiot; purchased, M.M. Auguiot, Paris, 1867
Exhibition HistoryOld Masters Exhibition, Burlington House, London, 1883

Winter Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1883

A collection of pictures of the Early Venetian School, Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1912
Label TextThis unusual double portrait was painted by two artists at different times: Vincenzo Catena on the right and an unidentified follower of Titian, on the left. Recent research has identified the older man as Giorgio Cornaro (1452-1527), a rich Venetian merchant and politican. He wears the black cap and cloth of gold mantle, with fur-lined sleeves, of a Podestà in the Venice government. The other man is his eldest son, Francesco Cornaro (1478-1543), in the uniform of an unidentified confraternity. He was initially a soldier and diplomat, later taking up a religious career. His father bought him the position of Cardinal in 1527. The red hat of his office was added after that to this much earlier portrait.
InscriptionNavagero et Beazzanno Poetes (on reverse)

This website uses cookies

We use optional cookies to enhance your user experience and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services.


About Cookies

Cookies are small text files that can be used by websites to make a user's experience more efficient. The law states that we can store cookies on your device if they are strictly necessary for the operation of this site. For all other types of cookies we need your permission. This site uses different types of cookies. Some cookies are placed by third party services that appear on our pages. You can at any time change or withdraw your consent from the Cookie Declaration on our website. Learn more about who we are, how you can contact us and how we process personal data in our Privacy Policy. Please state your consent ID and date when you contact us regarding your consent.

Necessary Cookies

Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

JSESSIONIDeMuseumUser SessionSessionHTTP

Statistics Cookies

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

_gaGoogle Tag ManagerRegisters a unique ID that is used to generate statistical data on how the visitor uses the website.2 yearsJavaScript
_gidGoogle Tag ManagerRegisters a unique ID that is used to generate statistical data on how the visitor uses the website.1 dayJavaScript