Monday, June 26, 2023

My Second Renaissance Portrait

After collaborating with my brother Cliff on the first Renaissance portrait, we were both inspired to create a second portrait and frame. Besides, I wanted to have a companion piece for Umberto di Palma.

My inspiration was the portrait on the left by Domenico Ghirlandaio (1448-1494), a popular Florentine artist under whom Michelangelo apprenticed. On the right is my portrait in its early stage. As you will see, I used the Ghirlandaio portrait only as an outline, literally. The background will change entirely, and the features will of course become more refined.

For the tunic, I borrowed from the forceful portrait of Giovanni Emo, by the Venetian painter, Giovanni Bellini (1430-1516).

I look at many, many faces, taking a mouth from here and hair from there to create a composite face. I want it to be an attractive one, because it will be staring at me from my own wall!

And here's the finished portrait. I'm naming the sitter Lorenzo Venuste, which translates from Latin as "Charming Lorenzo."

Now it's time to frame Lorenzo. My intention is to match Umberto di Palma's frame in size and general style, but to make the details different.


I became intrigued by carved frames of the Renaissance. This is Belinni's "Resurrection" from the Gemaldegalerie, Berlin. I decided to do my own version with the use of a laser. The design for the frame's side panels is drawn in black & white, and what is black, the laser cuts into the wood, and what is white, it skips. (Thanks to Richard Radice for his help arranging the laser cutting.)

My brother and I also had the capitals 3-D printed.

Here is the finished, framed portrait. My brother, Cliff constructed the frame, which I in turn painted. Inner frame by Richard Radice.

The legend translates as "Glory is in the Shadow of Virtue," which we can only wish was always the case!

And now Umberto di Palma and Lorenzo Venuste share a wall in my house, one on either side of a window.

Click to enlarge
Thanks for visiting!


  1. Wow, Mark! I think you should toss some coffee over it and call it a rediscovered da Vinci. Seriously, I always marvel at your talent, deep knowledge, and ingenuity that you combine in your art, this time enhanced with a little outside assistance. It goes without saying that this new masterpiece and this post come as a most welcome surprise.

  2. Thanks for those very kind words, Jim! What I have discovered is that with every collaboration, I learn a little something new. And watching my friend with the laser machine, and what he's up to, is giving me all sorts of ideas for new projects around the house. I hope you have a very happy 4th of July! — Mark

  3. thinking about dusting off my blog and landed here and wow i am so glad i did. What a great project! Bravo.

  4. I'm glad you did, too, and that you're thinking about dusting off your
    blog! You're still on my favorites list, Lynne, and I look forward to seeing what you're up to. As you can see, my postings are just now- and-then, but I enjoy staying in touch.

    1. do I need to explain about the busted wrist and writer's block or can i just drop back in, like you did!?

  5. Hi again, Lynne. I just dropped back in, but I've found that most of my blog list has moved on — you'll be getting new viewers via the Google Search and less dialogue . . .