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The second exhibition I saw on Sunday was Giovanni Battista Moroni at the Royal Academy. I had never heard of this Renaissance artist before, but I found myself admiring his pictures greatly.

Moroni was the son of a stonemason and was born in Albino, north Italy, in the 1520s. During his lifetime he was acclaimed as the leading painter in Bergamo, but his reputation has fluctuated over the centuries.

Moroni preferred to paint with a representation of reality rather than create artificial, idealised portraits. As a result his pictures have insight and presence. Some portraitists of the era produced what, to me, appear as not-very-interesting pictures of the nobility, but Moroni’s paintings are different. I particularly liked his Portrait of a Lateran Canon (c. 1558) – the canon looks at the viewer with a wry smile, which led me to wonder what he was thinking! Another interesting picture is the Portrait of a Tailor (c. 1570), in which the tailor in question is full of personality.

This is a really fascinating exhibition which is definitely worth seeing. It runs until the 25th of January.

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