Portrait of Alfonso d'Avalos, Marchese del Vasto, in Armor with a Page

Object Details


Portrait of Alfonso d'Avalos, Marchese del Vasto, in Armor with a Page


Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) (Italian, about 1487 - 1576)




Bologna, Italy (Place created)


probably January - February 1533


Oil on canvas


110 x 80 cm (43 5/16 x 31 1/2 in.)

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He was a handsome gentleman, well built and tall . . . who was always exquisitely dressed and well perfumed--in peacetime and in wartime--right down to the saddles of his horses.

-- The Abbot of Brantôme

Titian's Portrait of Alfonso d'Avalos, painted in Bologna in the winter of 1533, signals the inception of one of the most influential prototypes in the history of Western art-the standing state portrait. Dressed in armor with a diminutive page looking up to him, Alfonso d'Avalos exudes the tremendous power he wielded as governor of Milan and commander general of imperial forces in Italy under the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. As the Abbot of Brantôme--a French historian--observed, Avalos was a man who took great care with his appearance. He was born into an illustrious Spanish-Neapolitan family and trained for a military career under his cousin, Ferdinando Francesco, the Marchese di Pescara. After winning numerous military campaigns, Avalos was honored with the Order of the Golden Fleece. He is shown wearing the Order's royal collar over an elaborate and beautifully wrought suit of armor befitting an imperial leader. In the lower left, his page hands him a helmet. Titian, who may have known Avalos personally, endowed him with all the earnestness of a learned and contemplative man, while at the same time conveying his authority.

Titian, along with Raphael, set the standard for court portraiture during the subsequent development of Western painting. This portrait heralds such remarkable later paintings as Anthony van Dyck's Portrait of Agostino Pallavicini, Domenico Fetti's Portrait of a Man with a Sheet of Music, and Guercino's Pope Gregory XV.

1533 - 1546

Marchese Alfonso d'Avalos, 1502 - 1546, by inheritance to his son, Francesco Ferdinando d'Avalos, 1546.

- 1571

Marquis Francesco Ferdinando d'Avalos, 1531 - 1571, probably by inheritance to his son, Alfonso Felice d'Avalos, 1571.

1571 -

Marquis Alfonso Felice d'Avalos, 1564 - 1593

King John III Sobieski of Poland, Polish, 1629 - 1696

King Stanislaw August Poniatowski of Poland, 1732 - 1798, possibly by gift to Stanislaus Augustus II Potocki.

- 1805

Count Stanislaus Augustus II Potocki, about 1751/1753 - 1805, by inheritance to Mieczyslaw Potocki.

1805 -

Mieczyslaw Potocki (Paris, France), by inheritance within the Potocki Family.

Potocki Family, by inheritance to Felix Nicholas Potocki.

- 1921

Count Felix Nicholas Potocki (Paris, France), by inheritance to Alfred Potocki, 1921.

1921 - 1925

Count Alfred Potocki, sold to Martine de Béhague, 1925.

1925 - 1939

Comtesse Martine-Marie-Pol de Béhague, French, 1870 - 1939 (Paris, France), by inheritance to her nephew Hubert de Ganay, 1939.

1939 - 1974

Marquis Hubert de Ganay, 1888 - 1974 (Paris, France), by inheritance to his sons Jean-Louis, Comte de Ganay (now current Marquis de Ganay), André, Michel, Charles, and Paul, 1974.

1974 - 1990

Marquis Jean-Louis de Ganay (Paris, France), and his brothers

André de Ganay

and Michel de Ganay

and Charles de Ganay

and Paul de Ganay (Paris, France), sold to AXA Oeuvres d'Art, 1990.

1990 - 2003

AXA Oeuvres d'Art (Paris, France), sold through Didier Aaron (Paris, France) to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2003.

Mostra del Ritratto Storico Napoletano (October to November, 1954) (Cat. 14)
  • Museo di Palazzo Reale (Napili), October to November, 1954
Le Cabinet de l'Amateur (February to April, 1956) (Cat. 99)
  • Musée de l'Orangerie, (Paris), February to April, 1956
Hommage à Titien (June 5 to September 20, 1976) (Cat. 99)
  • Musée du Louvre, (Paris), June 5 to September 20, 1976
Titian: Prince of Painters (October 28, 1990 to January 27, 1991) (Cat. 99)
  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), October 28, 1990 to January 27, 1991
Le siècle de Titien: L'âge d'or de la peinture à Venise (March 9 to June 14, 1993) (Cat. 166)
  • Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, (Paris), March 9 to June 14, 1993
Carolus (October 6, 2000 to January 12, 2001) (Cat. 229)
  • Museo de Santa Cruz (Toledo), October 5, 2000 to January 12, 2001
Titian and the Commander: A Renaissance Artist and His Patron (October 4, 2005 to February 5, 2006) (Cat. 229)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 4, 2005 to February 5, 2006
Related Media
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    Audio: Portrait of Alfonso d'Avalos / Schaeffer
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    Audio: Portrait of Alfonso d'Avalos - French (Highlights)