1501. Tempera on panel. 61.4x 45 cm. The National Gallery, London, UK. Read Note.
Doge Leonardo Loredan. “His first works…” writes Vasari of Giovanni Bellini, “… were certain portraits, which met with great praise, in particular one which depicts Doge Leonardo Loredan”. This picture was painted in 1501, when the Doge (who was proud of his Roman descent) took office, or shortly thereafter. It can indeed be considered one of the greatest achievements of Venetian painting, and not just in the field of portraiture. Tutto spirito (all intellect) was the verdict passed on it even by contemporaries. "Thin, tall of stature, of no great fortune, choleric, but as a ruler clever and wise”, was how Leonardo Loredan (1438-1521) was described by one contemporary. He was Doge until 1521, and in the 12 or so years following the painting of this portrait, he was to guide the Republic through the War of Encirclement waged by the League of Cambrai