Galileo and his contemporaries: Portraits by Ottavio Leoni (1578-1630)
The Fitzwilliam Museum owns almost all of Ottavio Leoni's portrait prints, made in Rome in the last decade of his life. According to his biographer, 'in all Rome there was no one who had not his portrait by Ottavio - whether prince, princess, gentlemen, or persons of private rank - and not a house in which some portrait from the hand of the cavaliere was not to be seen' (Giovanni Baglione, 1642).
As shown in this collection of prints, Leoni used a subtle technique of stippled dots to convey every nuance of flesh and detail of feature in his closely observed portraits, bringing to life the personalities of contemporary artists, poets, mathematicians and dignitaries. So naturalistic are his depictions, that his print of Galileo has recently been used as evidence to investigate the astronomer's deteriorating eyesight.
The exhibition is memory of Mr William Clarke, the former Chair of the Heritage and Arts Committee of the Mercer's Company, who have supported the conservation of these prints.
Tue 2 November 2010 to Sun 13 February 2011
Charrington Print Room (16)