​Domenico Ghirlandaio - Old man and boyOil on canvas, around 1490, 62 x 46 cm, Musée du Louvre in Paris



Description and interpretation of the famous painting'Greis und Knabe' by Domenico Ghirlandaio!

Domenico Ghirlandaio - Old man and boy

"Through the eyes of love, every man is beautiful." the touching message of this painting could be. The man's illness, acne rosacea, is not hidden here, but can be recognized quite obviously for every observer. The artist probably finished the portrait after studies of the man, after he had already passed away. However, it is not known exactly who he was. The realism shown here is extremely unusual for the end of the 15th century. And even today the bulbous nose, which disfigures the old man, is alienating. But the child, who has taken a seat on his lap, looks at the man tenderly. Whether this is really his grandchild, as an alternative title would have us believe, is controversial in research.

The possibility is also taken into consideration that the child was only inserted into the painting at a later date. At least the proximity of the two is shown empathetically. The clothes of the two clearly show their social status. The man wears a red robe with a fur trim (wolf fur) and the child a red-black dress with lace trim on the collar and a matching red cap. The clothes correspond to those of the rich Florentine citizens. The red garments also combine both in composition, although youth and age are in clear contrast.

In the background a window opens and shows a natural landscape. A path winds its way up a hill to a church. Cypresses refer to Italy.

© the artinspector / alexandra tuschka