Generally dated to around 1522, Dosso Dossi’s Apollo entered the Borghese collection, Rome, in 1659, bequeathed by Luigi Capponi as a tribute to the family of Paul V, who had made him a cardinal. Active at the court of Alfonso I d’Este in Ferrara, the artist probably executed the painting for the duke’s marriage to Laura Dianti, which took place after the death of his wife Lucrezia Borgia in 1519. This idea was put forth in consideration of the connection between Laura’s name and the laurel wrapped around Apollo’s head, as well as the duke’s devotion to the god. Probably influenced by the famous Belvedere Torso and by Raphael’s and Michelangelo’s painting, the figure of Apollo leans heavily towards the classical style.

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