Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Dr. Fredrika Jacobs


This thesis argues that Raphael's portrait, Baldassare Castiglione, is three portraits in one: 1) a "speaking likeness" of the subject, 2) a portrait of the "perfect" courtier, and 3) a "shadow" portrait of the Court of Urbino in the early sixteenth century. The formal analysis of the painting is presented in the context of the paragone of word and image expounded by its subject in his masterpiece, Il Cortegiano. Both author and artist demonstrate the concepts of sprezzatura (an artful artlessness) and grazia (graceful elegance) in the creation of their portraits, as well as avoidance of affetazione (affectation). It is concluded that Raphael's response to the challenge of the text/image paragone in Il Cortegiano determined the formal choices he made as he painted his friend Baldassare Castiglione.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008