Portrait of a Singer (Farinelli?)
Jacopo Amigoni (1682-1752)
18th century, Oil on canvas
The young man in this portrait wears a simple white shirt, a grey jacket, and a red cloak, and turns his gaze towards the viewer, his lips slightly open as if he is singing. The sitter was identified for many years as Carlo Maria Michelangelo Nicola Brioschi, known as Farinello or Farinelli (Andria 1705-Bologna 1782), considered to be the most famous castrato opera singer in history. Following further research and comparative analysis, however, this attribution is uncertain, and the sitter remains unconfirmed. What is certain is that it was painted by Jacopo Amigoni, one of the leading exponents of the international Rococo style, who is said to have been part of an extraordinarily cosmopolitan circle of artists and connoisseurs in Venice at the beginning of the 18th century together with Rosalba Carriera and Sebastiano Ricci. It was in this environment that Amigoni would have become acquainted with the highly sought-after pastel portraits of Carriera which inspired this painting.