On the eve of my retirement, I am delighted to report that the Museum has honored my tenure as the first Janet and Richard Geary Curator of European Art by purchasing Carlo Ceresa’s Portrait of Baron Ignazio de Pizzis. Ceresa was the leading portraitist in the lovely North Italian city of Bergamo in the 1600s, but his reputation extended far beyond his native land. This portrait was commissioned by Baron de Pizzis, the lord of the town of Ortona, which lies about thirty miles south of Pescara on Italy’s Adriatic coast. In creating this swashbuckling image, Ceresa followed the tradition of depicting European rulers as Christian knights. The Baron is shown in partial armor with his sword at his side and his helmet resting on the table. The red sash indicates that he was a partisan of the Catholic cause in the religious wars of the period, but does not necessarily mean that he was a soldier. The rich silver velvet clothes and fashionable high boots signify that the Baron also wanted to project his wealth and status.
The painting adds a male ruler portrait to Felipe Diriksen’s full-length portrait of a Spanish princess, María Ana de Austria, which the Museum acquired in 2017. The canvases are nearly the same size and will beautifully interact with each other when Ceresa’s painting is installed in the Meier Gallery this summer after undergoing minor restoration. The Museum’s European collection includes few large-scale paintings and I am thrilled that this portrait will enhance the representation of seventeenth-century art in Portland. I owe a great debt to the people who made this purchase possible!
—Dawson W. Carr, The Janet and Richard Geary Curator of European Art
Carlo Ceresa (Italian, 1609–1679), Portrait of Baron Ignazio de Pizzis, ca. 1650, oil on canvas, Museum Purchase: Funds provided by the European and American Art Council; Kent and Carol Ann Caveny; George and Barbara Dechet; Ann Flowerree; Laura Meier; H. Pat Ritz; Sabine Artaud Wild; Marilyn Podemski; Dan Bergsvik and Don Hastler; Michael and Mary Klein; Robert Trotman and Bill Hetzelson; Tom and Carol Shults; Don and Linda Van Wart, 2021.3.1
Felipe Diriksen (Spanish, 1590–1679), Portrait of Infanta María Ana de Austria, 1630, oil on canvas, Museum Purchase: Funds provided by William and Helen Jo Whitsell; European and American Art Council; John S. Ettelson Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation; Nani S. Warren; May Van Dyke Fund; Laura Meier; Marilyn Ross Podemski; Janet Geary; Ann Flowerree; Kent and Carol Ann Caveny; James FitzGerald and Karen Howe; Shawn and Lisa Mangum; George and Barbara Dechet; Sharon and Keith Barnes; European Art Purchase Fund, 2017.59.1