Monday, May 15, 2023

Can You Identify This Deathbed Painting That I Saw In Florence?

While in Florence I took several photos of this painting which I believed to be based on the death of Galileo. Unfortunately, I did not take a photo of the nameplate, so I am now unsure about the subject matter as well as the name of the artist. Can you help me?

While organizing my Italy photos I wanted to share that this was a painting of Galileo on his deathbed. I also wanted to be accurate, so I did some searches using Google Bard and Google Images. What I learned from Bard is that "there are no famous deathbed paintings in Florence, Italy. There are a few paintings that depict the death of Jesus, but they are not considered to be deathbed paintings. The most famous painting of the death of Jesus is the Pietà by Michelangelo, which is located in the Vatican City. The Pietà depicts the Virgin Mary mourning the death of her son, Jesus."

Thanks, Bard, but I think you're wrong.

Naturally I found this answer unsatisfactory, since I took these photos of the painting in question while in Florence, and the bearded man on his deathbed looks quite a bit like Galileo. Nevertheless, Bard also had this to say about the matter:

"The reason why there are no famous deathbed paintings in Florence is because the Renaissance artists were more interested in depicting the beauty of life than the ugliness of death. They wanted to create paintings that would inspire and uplift people, not paintings that would remind them of their own mortality."

I guess it makes sense. In short, the painting here is either not famous or not a deathbed scene, though my comeback would be that "if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is probably a duck."

I do like the drama that the artist has captured. And the manner in which the light makes this man's costume to appear to glow.

Maybe we'll find out who painted it and whom this story is all about. And maybe we won't. It's still a masterful piece of work. If you know who painted it, please let us know in the comments. 

1 comment:

Ed Newman said...

Thank you to Mark Desantis for identifying this painting for us. It is: Francis I, King of France, close to Leonardo's death bed, 1828, by Cesare Mussini

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