Portrait of Alexander Farnése by Frans Pourbus the Elder

🗡️ This is Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma (1545-1592), who in the 1580s nearly squelched the Dutch rebellion. Son of Habsburg regent Margaret of Parma (half-sister to Philip II), Farnese used both military acumen and political savvy recover cities and territories for the Habsburgs.

🎨 The portrait is by renowned Flemish artist Frans Pourbus the Elder (1545-1581). Best known for his portraits, he masterfully captured the personalities of his sitters – and left us valuable records of the fashions of the time, making his work a vital part of Renaissance art history.

🔍 The painter and the the politician speaks to how interconnected these networks were – and reminds me of the social network analysis I have let simmer for a while now. What do you think of the strange connections between figures as disparate as artists and military commanders?