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Portrait of a Halberdier (probably Francesco Guardi)

Jacopo da Pontormo (Jacopo Carucci) Italian

Not on view


This celebrated portrait probably shows Francesco Guardi (1514–1554), who would have been fifteen or sixteen when imperial troops laid siege to Florence in 1529 to reinstate Medici rule. Youths too young to fight took up arms and followed their fathers on patrols in defense of the republic. Guardi holds a weapon (possibly a roncone or coresca rather than the halberd of the title), his left elbow held in a proudly defiant pose. Behind him are fortifications. The historian Benedetto Varchi remarked that these Florentine youths offered "the most beautiful sight . . . because they were as well armed as they were splendidly dressed."

Portrait of a Halberdier (probably Francesco Guardi), Jacopo da Pontormo (Jacopo Carucci) (Italian, Pontormo 1494–1556 Florence), Oil, possibly mixed with tempera, on canvas, transferred from panel

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Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program