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Portrait of a Man - Antonello da Messina. C. 1475
A remarkable example of the skill of Antonello the portrait painter is the portrait of a young man, executed about 1475. For a complete picture of this portrait, you need to add three centimeters from the bottom - it took so much of the cut edge of the parapet with the cartellino. The aspect ratio approached 3; 2. This proportion is not typical for bosom portraits, usually gravitating toward a calmer 4: 3 or 5: 4 relationship. Elongated format; a sonorous accord of a red cap, a muffled purple jacket and a snow-white shirt; arrogantly raised pale face; bright pursed lips; a cold piercing gaze - all this, perceived instantly, affects us with such force that it seems that a meeting with a living original could not make a stronger impression.
Antonello introduced into the portrait a barely noticeable mismatch between the expressions of the far and near halves of the face. The distant, brighter illuminated, part of the face, contrasting with the background, with a glint sparkling on the iris, as if peering out from behind a calmer near half.
This person carefully perceives the viewer with his coldly appraising gaze, skeptically tightening his mouth corner. It seems he sees the viewer through and through. But the near side of the face is not involved in this objective study. A slightly raised eyebrow, a slightly lowered eyelid, a crease rounding the chin express satisfaction with the understanding achieved. With a slight irony, he makes it clear to the viewer that he is completely transparent to him.