Cesare Augusto Detti was an Italian painter born on November 28, 1847. His father was an engineer as well as an amateur painter and encouraged Cesare to paint. At the age of fifteen, Cesare moved to Rome and began pursuing his art education at the Accademia di San Luca. By the time he was finished, Italy had become unified and the fresh aesthetic ideas that came from the newly-formed nation were integral to Cesare’s art. Cesare traveled extensively after graduation, visiting places like Rome and Paris. While he was in Paris he befriended Adolphe Goupil, a leading art dealer at the time. His friendship with Goupil was influential in the selling of his art later. When he visited Naples he became associated with Bartolomeo Pinelli’s copperplate troubadour-style engravings such as “Costumes of the Kingdoms of Naples”. These images were a catalyst for Cesare’s focus on troubadour-style and realism. Troubadour-style art is French historical paintings that idealized depictions of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Cesare used this style along with the way Pinelli created to make his paintings. He later became known for his troubadour-style art, since that was what he mainly painted.
His career following this shift was notably impressive. He exhibited at the Salon in 1866 and the Italian Exhibition in London. Later he held showings at the Exposition Universelle, where he was Vice-President of the “Italian Committee” and a couple years later was awarded a silver medal. To this day, his genre scenes are still coveted and popular among dealers.
This painting is a portrait of a young knight sitting in a wooden frame with gold paint brushed. It has been done in Detti’s classic troubadour-style. Troubadour-style art are historical paintings that idealized depictions of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. In true troubadour-style, the composition is lit from the back of the scene, with the foreground in semi-darkness. A golden tapestry peeks through the shadows, as well as what appears to be a crest and burgundy velvet chaise. The knight is dressed in a breastplate, fauld, and tasset, his helmet rests on a table behind him. Due to the manner of the portrait as well as the clothing that the young knight wears, Detti is painting a time when dress and class were seen as luxurious signifiers of wealth. Everything about this young man exudes elegance, grace, and perhaps even royalty.
There are very few horizontal lines, the main focus being the verticals of the knight and large background. This creates an illusion of height and grandiosity. Detti has also chosen a bright color palette, favoring golden yellows, vivid reds, and elegant greens that contrast with the dark surroundings. While the knights features are painted in a neutral skin tone, the primary colors draw the eye back to the subject, instead of getting lost in the scene. There is an overall energetic mood to the piece, a sense of dignity and excitement.
Detti paintings are worth anywhere from $5,000 for a minor piece upward to $300,000. They are shining examples of Italian Renaissance art as well as pieces from a talented and famous European painter. This piece exemplifies his style and shows the mastery of his skill. It would look lovely in any sitting room, bedroom, or hallway.
Dimension of canvas only: H= 16 in. W= 10.5 in.
Dimensions with Frame: H= 23 in. W= 12 in. D= 2 in., 6 lbs.