But Did He Go to Jared?


June is the traditional month to get married. And so today we feature Portrait of a Man with a Ring. The portrait was created by Francesco del Cossa around 1472-77 and sits in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. Del Cossa was an early Renaissance artist specializing in frescos. This oil panel is a rare example of del Cossa’s work as a portraitist.

The identity of the handsome man is unknown. Perhaps he wished to have his portrait painted as a record of his engagement, which would explain the ring.

The  young man looks proud of his ring, obviously taking his role of finance seriously. I hope she said yes.

Now he needs to work on the honeymoon. I hope he wasn’t planning on taking her anywhere near that weird background. It looks like an Italian version of Stonehenge back there. Note to groom: Druids meandering around the resort are a total mood killer.





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First Love

blog horse

Five-year-old Annemarie watched TV and had two loves: Fury the Horse and Lassie the Dog. Both are featured in Andrea Mantegna’s 1470 fresco, recently renovated in the Ducal Palace in Mantua, Northern Italy. The room where this fresco is located is called the Camera deli Sposi, the room for the bride and groom. Sigh.

The artist Mantegna was never one of the big boys of Renaissance art, but he inspired Raphael and Pinturicchio. His paintings on the walls of palaces in Venice and Padua are said to have inspired Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel.

One day I’d love to visit this handsome, white stallone. Such a proud stallion. And his grand, burgundy, velvet saddle suits him perfectly.

As for the pair of dogs in the painting, well, even as an adult I’ve never been a fan of a dog flashing the Full Monty.

Thank God Mantegna drew the horse face-first.


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Ozzo Handsome

arab king hottie Benozzo+Gozzoli+(Italian+early+Renaissance+painter,++c+1421–1497)+Scenes+from+the+Procession+of+the+Magi,++Detail+of+the+Middle+King+on+South+wall+of+Chapel,+Palazzo+Medici-Riccardi,+Florence+1459

This golden king is John VIII Palaiologos, Byzantine emperor, part of the fresco on the southern wall in the Magi Chapel at the Palazzo Medici-Riccardo in Florence.

The emperor is obviously a man of great hotness, but what’s interesting is the name of the man who painted him: Benozzo Gozzoli. How many of the great masters of the Renaissance can claim a double “ozzo” in their names?

Benozzo Gozzoli obviously likes his name, and repeated the letters in the portrait. Notice, the King’s curls make the letter “O” and his nose resembles a backward “Z.”

And with his very nice but rather round and pointy crown, the King reminds me of another word containing a “z.” A wizard.

All hail The Wizard of Ozzo.


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Cloudy, but hot


Steamy-painting alert.

Correggio’s Jupiter and Io is a sexy painting. The Italian master created this epic piece in 1530. It burns up the walls at the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna, Austria.

According to the Greek myth, the god Jupiter was often tempted by other women and disguised himself in order to cover his various escapades. Once he was a swan and another time an eagle. In this painting he forms himself into a dark, velvety cloud that embraces Io, the voluptuous nymph. She seems to melt in his arms.

Though his face is barely visible above hers, we can see his sensuality. Io pulls Jupiter’s ethereal hand toward hers. He is of the heavens and she of the earth.

Hot. Hot. Hot. For the love of Jupiter, will somebody get me a fan!

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Il Gaetano

handsome scipione

The handsome man in the portrait  was also the artist. Artist Scipione Pulzone, also known as il Gaetano, which is a pretty cool nickname, was born in Naples. He created the self-portait in 1574.

He paints in the Renaissance Mannerist style, which means he pays attention to details. You can almost feel the silkiness of his shirt and the softness of his vest. And that sliver of a scar on his hairline, his only flaw, draws my eye every time.

He is famous for the masterpiece below, Mater Divine Providentiae, or Mary, Mother of Divine Providence. Il Gaetano’s 1574 painting is based on Christ’s first public miracle at the wedding of Cana. His mother Mary’s intercession helped the bride and groom avoid the embarrassment of running out of food. This painting is said to have inspired the Our Lady of Providence devotion. Isn’t Mary exquisite holding her son?

Il Gaetano was devoted to the Catholic church and was best known for his portraits of Popes Pius V and Gregory XIII. Also, he painted several Medici’s.

None, I bet, were anywhere near as good looking as il Gaetano.

provident 2

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In a Time before Tylenol …


The handwriting on the back of the painting has turned nearly illegible over the centuries, but this is possibly Alessandro Braccesi.

Renaissance Master Pietro Perugino, who taught Raphael, captured this young man’s serene face in oil on panel in 1480. Portrait of a Young Man now sits in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

It’s been written that young Alessandro was sick when his portrait was painted. You can see it in his eyes, can’t you? That yellow-skinned, glass-eyed look as a result of prolonged fever.

If this is Alessandro, he apparently made it though his bout of illness. A man named Alessandro Braccesi went on the serve as secretary to some big shot or other at the Palazzo della Signoria, the city hall of Florence.

Whatever the true identity of Perugino’s subject, he sure had a nice, Florentine face.


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Make Our Hair-ica Great Again!

donald trump hair

Jacometto Veneziano painted Portrait of a Young Man in the 1480s. The subject’s name is unknown, but his hair sure is fancy. His friends probably called him Donaldo Trumpo.

Who knew Donald Trump looked to the Renaissance for hair tips? This style is called a zazzera, considered fashionable in Florence and Venice in the 1480-90s.

A man with such a notable tufts was called a zazzeruto. A very vain person, one who was especially concerned with his hair, was called a zazzeatore.

I’m giving The Donald a “terrific” new nickname — Zazzeatore Trump! And how about this new, zazzera-inspired slogan, “Make Our Hair-ica Great Again!”

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Smokin’ Hottie

smokin' hottie

Meet Flora, painted in 1482. She is one of seven mythological figures in Sandro Botticelli’s masterpiece Primavera, also known as Allegory of Spring.

I think Flora is high, which makes her the perfect hottie to feature on Happy Weed Day.

You know how stoned people look stupidly happy? That’s what I think is happening with Flora. She’s been cultivating those flowers all over her head into Tuscan weed.

When I look at Flora I think of Flower Children in the 1960s. Hippies thought they were cool. And so original! But Flora had them beat by more than 500 years.






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Suits Me!

full on tailor

Meet The Tailor (1570). This sharp-dressed man can be seen in the National Gallery in London. Isn’t he magnificent!

Giovanni Battista Moroni created this portrait. Moroni was from Northern Italy, not exactly a mecca of sophistication.  He didn’t identify with the lords of Florence, Venice, and Rome, but with everyday artisans. This allowed Moroni to develop his own style, painting his working class people with an air of nobility.

I love how Moroni caught The Tailor in the moment, checking out whoever just walked into his shop. The Tailor was a man not to be trifled with. Nobles had their swords, but The Tailor had his big, black scissors.

The ladies of the Renaissance can have their lords; I’d take The Tailor any day!


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Snotty Hottie

hair hottie

The name of the woman in Sandro Botticelli’s masterpiece is unknown, but the people of Florence probably called her La Signorina of a Hundred Hairstyles.

I know she is hot, but I think she looks kind of snotty. That’s why I call her Lady Medusa.

To me, it looks like Lady Medusa developed a big-headed conceit after the great Botticelli asked her to sit for a portrait. All of a sudden, she was too important for a single hairstyle.

I imagine her screaming at the hair-servants, “The man who painted Venus wants to paint me. Now, give me goddess hair!”

And the hair servants tried, tried with everything they had. But it appeared nothing could satisfy Lady Medusa. Overwhelmed and afraid for the lives, the servants had no choice but to throw stuff at her head: curlers, braids, barrettes, ribbons, pearls, extensions, and a headband. There’s probably a kitchen sink buried in that mop on her head. And snakes.

After viewing her portrait, and seeing how her hair obviously needed editing, she blamed the hair servants, of course. And that’s when Lady Medusa gave them “the stare,” turning the poor people to stone. It was then she was able to scratch her name off Botticelli’s canvas without witnesses.

If we remember our history, Medusa was beheaded. Maybe that’s what happened to the nameless La Signorina of a Hundred Hairstyles. Serves her right, if you ask me.










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