Bronzino (Agnolo di Cosimo di Mariano) (Italian, Florentine, 15031572)
Oil on wood; 37 5/8 x 29 1/2 in. (95.6 x 74.9 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.16)
This portraitamong Bronzino's most arrestingwas painted in the 1530s. The sitter is not known, but he must have belonged to Bronzino's close circle of literary friends, which included the historian Benedetto Varchi and the poet Laura Battiferri, both of whom sat for the artist. Bronzino himself composed verses in the style of Petrarch, and some of the fanciful and witty conceits in this picturethe grotesque heads on the table and chair and the masklike face formed by the youth's breecheswould have been much appreciated in literary circles. The book is doubtless a collection of poems.