Justus Sustermans ,
Portrait of Charles X King of Sweden

Justus Sustermans ,
Portrait of Charles X King of Sweden

Justus Sustermans, Portrait of Charles X King of Sweden
Canvas, 148×114 + frame 13 cm, Inv. n. 17

The painting is a portrait of the King of Sweden Charles X, who lived from 1622 until 1660, depicted here full length with is hair loose over his shoulders, his right hand resting on his hip, wearing a white shirt and black waistcoat.

It is most likely the work of a Flemish painter of considerable renown, who worked in European courts. The painting was acquired by Leonida Caldesi in 1884: but how it arrived in Faenza is unknown. It is only known that Caldesi began working as an antiques dealer, and for this reason it is believed that he purchased the painting and then sold it to the Pinacoteca. This portrait of considerable dimensions was initially attributed to Murillo, whose name was soon substituted by that of Sustermans, as the critical literature concurs. The Flemish painter arrived in Italy in 1620 and stopped in Florence, where he became the official portraitist of the Medici family thanks to a combination of two talents that were very important to the Florentine court: aulic portrait painting combined with an intense realism. 

Archi maintains that this painting is one of Sustermans’s «most alive and engaging» works; Golfieri, considering it «among the most valuable of the painter of the Tuscan grand-ducal court», believes it was completed between 1665 and 1660, a date which would also correspond to the high point of the artist’s career, in turn demonstrated, as Golfieri himself points out, by «the aulic composition of the portrait, the thick and spontaneous brush strokes, the eloquent expressiveness of the face».

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