Joker

Raffaelo Menicucci
'famous throughout the world'

Image["P.7935-R"]

Engraving, 1625

Menicucci was born in Tuscany. He was jester at the Medici court in Florence before moving to Rome and becoming jester to Pope Urban VIII. He had a natural ability to produce comic effects and witticisms and compose spontaneous verses. He was also renowned as a social climber obsessed with his own fame, which explains the Latin inscription on this print.

Of the two portraits made of him a few years later by French artists in Rome, Claude Mellan's engraving has the same boastful inscription, and Valentin de Boulogne's painting makes reference to his posing as a Count. Leoni's portrait is the most sympathetic and genial, and the only one in which the jester is wearing - no doubt spuriously - the hat and habit of a cleric.

Given by John Charrington 1933

P.7935-R


The Fitzwilliam Museum : Joker

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