Portrait of a Young Man

Pompeo Batoni Italian

Not on view

Commissioning a portrait from Batoni was practically a rite of passage for Grand Tourists in Rome. This young man’s identity remains unknown, but he chose the most luxurious format: a full‑length portrayal with the props Batoni used repeatedly to announce a Grand Tour education, including a statue of Minerva (the Roman goddess of wisdom), an astronomical instrument known as an armillary sphere, and books: guides to ancient and modern Rome, painters’ biographies, and Homer’s Odyssey. On the table is a large relief sculpture of Antinous, lover of the emperor Hadrian, that attests to the ready integration of ancient homosexual culture into the mainstream celebrations of antiquity that characterized the Grand Tour.

Portrait of a Young Man, Pompeo Batoni (Italian, Lucca 1708–1787 Rome), Oil on canvas

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