Portrait of a Gentleman
Pietro Francesco Guala (1698-1757)
18th century, Oil on canvas
This painting depicts an anonymous, elegant gentleman in a casual pose, with one hand on his belt and the other in his fine jacket. The abundant drapery of the blue jacket, the gold of the buttons, and the red puff sleeves are consistent with the style of the artist, Francesco Guala. Guala was born in Casale Monferrato, to Lorenzo and Barbara Favro: in all likelihood, he was initiated into painting at his father's workshop. He became a much sought-after portrait painter among both nobility and the bourgeoisie, who appreciated the way he combined the official compositional style of the great 17th-century tradition and contemporary Venetian representation. Between the end of the 1720s and the beginning of the 1730s, he developed an original style with respect to previous work – his palette became lighter and he adopted a manner of representating physiognomy and drapery with broad, puffy folds, which came to be salient features of his mature style.