This great canvas of the patrician Marcello Durazzo is considered one of Van Dyck’s most sophisticated works. It is the pendant to a painting of Durazzo’s wife Caterina. Originally in the Durazzo family collection, the portrait was purchased by Baron Giorgio Franchetti at the end of the nineteenth century and placed in the Ca’ d’Oro. The painting is datable to between 1621 and 1627, the years of Van Dyck’s time in Genoa, when he made a substantial impression in Italian baroque painting.
Following the Spanish-influenced fashion of the time, the portrait uses dark colors with hues of blacks and browns interacting with the red curtain in the back- ground, which opens to reveal a view of the sky streaked by clouds – an evident homage to the Venetian pictorial tradition.
Venetian Heritage, in collaboration with Michelangelo Foundation, Arthemisia, and Marco Voena, supported efforts to repair the widespread inconsistent glazing, overpainting, and inpainting on the original surface caused by prior restorations.