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Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609-64)

A presumed self-portrait c. 1645-50

Etching | 18.8 x 13.8 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 830472.g

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Castiglione was the first artist in Italy to respond to Rembrandt's etchings, which would have been available through print dealers in Genoa, Rome and elsewhere. He modelled his own etchings on such prints, and it is clear that he understood Rembrandt's exercises in exotic dress to be thinly disguised self-portraits. The velvet beret and ostrich feather – a distinctly bohemian look, even in the seventeenth century – were to recur frequently in Castiglione's works to indicate the 'presence' of the artist.