Andrea Doria collected tapestries and silver rather than paintings, the Palazzo del Principe was famous for these exceptional collections of panels and precious metal artefacts, both much more expensive than paintings. Andrea's successors, including his direct heir Giovanni Andrea I, proved to have inherited his collecting choices.
Within the field of easel painting, the attention of the Doria family focused on portraits, with the intention of preserving the features of family members for posterity. Indeed, the portraits of the family members are the most significant group among the paintings still present in the Villa, commissioned by the Dorias themselves or entering the residence at a later date.
The portraits of Andrea in particular are of great artistic importance. The celebrated painting by Sebastiano del Piombo on the orders of Pope Clement VII in 1526, when Doria became commander-in-chief of the Papal fleet, depicts him at the age of sixty, dressed in an austere black robe and wearing his admiral's hat. This panel by Sebastiano del Piombo is considered to be one of the earliest examples of a state portrait. An example of “allegorical” portrait is also kept at the Villa del Principe: another famous effigy of Andrea Doria, painted by Bronzino for Paolo Giovio’s collection of illustrious men portraits. In this painting, Andrea is celebrated in the guise of a god of the sea, as a heroic nude partly inspired by Michelangelo’s David.
A third portrait of Doria offers a much more realistic representation of the admiral in his later years, accompanied by his cat.
In the absence of any direct descendants, Andrea had named as his heir Giannettino, who fell victim to the Fieschi conspiracy in 1547; a splendid three-quarter portrait of him in elegant dress remains, attributed to Francesco Salviati. Giannettino's son, heir of Charles V's admiral, Giovanni Andrea I, is depicted by Alessandro Vaiani wearing the dress of the Knights of the Order of Saint James of the Sword, with his dog Roldano, a gift from Philip II of Spain. The Molossian hound is himself the subject of a precious painting by Aurelio Lomi, in which a young, elegantly dressed page (or young member of the family) grooms him with a silver brush. Among the many depictions of the ladies of the family stands out the Portrait of Anna Pamphilj by Jacob Ferdinand Voet, sent in 1671 to her promised spouse, Giovanni Andrea III Doria.