A reader (and fellow blogger) has suggested that I show more of my profile picture, and talk a little about it. So here’s the story:
I chose to use a portrait of Federico da Montefeltro, who was the Duke of Urbino from 1474 until his death in 1482. He rose in power by heading a mercenary army, and he is famous for having had tremendously loyal men, and for never having lost a war. The portrait was painted around 1465 by Piero della Francesca, a lover of mathematics who is credited today for having been a pioneer in the understanding of perspective.
There’s an interesting story behind da Montefeltro’s remarkable appearance. He lost his right eye in a jousting match, and because he feared assassination attempts, he had the bridge of his nose removed to afford better visibility with his remaining eye.
Called “The Light of Italy,” da Montefeltro was highly cultivated and amassed a library that was second only to the Vatican’s.
This portrait of da Montefeltro with his son captures his dual passion for things military and literary. He's wearing the Order of the Garter, which was awarded to him by England's King Edward IV.
Here's a detail, showing how the face is actually very stylized.