Portrait of a Young Man

Artist: Bronzino (Agnolo di Cosimo di Mariano) (Italian, Monticelli 1503–1572 Florence)

Date: 1530s

Medium: Oil on wood

Dimensions: 37 5/8 x 29 1/2 in. (95.6 x 74.9 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929

Accession Number: 29.100.16


The sitter of this arresting portrait remains unknown, but he was part of Bronzino’s close circle of literary friends in Florence and probably holds a book of poetry. The artist was himself a poet, delighting as much in the beauty of language as he did in the witty and fanciful details of his paintings. Here, viewers would have appreciated the carved grotesque heads on the table and chair, and the almost hidden, masklike face suggested in the folds of the youth’s breeches as comments on masks and disguises. Bronzino has delineated a sophisticated visual identity for his sitter.