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Work Portrait of a young man wearing a cap

Department of Prints and Drawings: 16th century

Tête de jeune homme, de face, coiffé d'un bonnet

RMN-Grand Palais - Photo A. Didierjean

Prints and Drawings
16th century

Author(s):
Bartolucci Sara

The young man wearing a cap is a preparatory drawing for the Portrait of a Lutenist in the Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, widely acknowledged as one of the most charming paintings of the 16th century. This is an early drawing by Salviati; its outstanding quality makes it representative of Salviati's output and of his period.

Portrait of a musician

The young man, drawn full-face, is looking at the viewer, as he is in the finished painting. This work dates from the beginning of the artist's time in Rome, when he entered the service of Cardinal Giovanni Salviati. The cardinal was a patron of the arts who had a great love of music. One of the beneficiaries of his patronage was a young lutenist named Jacquet du Pont. It seems more than likely that he is the subject of this portrait.

A talent for observation

Salviati produced this portrait after studying in Andrea del Sarto's workshop in Florence. He certainly knew the studies of heads by his master as well as Michelangelo's portrait of Andrea Quaratesi, now in the British Museum, London. This portrait rapidly became the focus of much attention in Florence and had quite an impact on artistic life there. Comparisons have also been drawn between it and Salviati's Michelangelo portrait and other drawings. The head-and-shoulders Portrait of a Young Man Wearing a Hat (Chatsworth) is especially relevant in this context, while the portrait in the Louvre seems less spontaneous. Another example is the Portrait of a Young Man (private collection), where the line is slightly less confident. This preparatory drawing is a superb example of the capacity for detailed observation of a talented young artist. The hatching is very fine; great care has been taken over the face and the neck in particular. Salviati's handling of the red chalk gives the impression of softness to the touch. Note how the light, shining from the right, only falls across part of the face.

A multifaceted artist

Vasari considered Salviati to be one of the few Mannerist artists to have a number of strings to his bow. Although he found fame as a painter, he was also a skilled draftsman. He created models for works using other techniques, such as engraving, medals, and emblems, as well as cartoons for sumptuous tapestries.

Bibliography

Mortari Luisa, Francesco Salviati, Rome, Leonardo De Luca, 1992, pp. 162-163, 260.
Costamagna Philippe, "Francesco Salviati (1510-1563), peintre et dessinateur de portraits : une nouvelle attribution pour le Luthiste du musée Jacquemart-André", in Revue du Louvre, n 5/6, 1991, pp. 1-8.
Monbeig Goguel Catherine, Costamagna Philippe et Hochmann Michel (dir.), "Introduction", in Francesco Salviati (1510-1563) ou la Bella Maniera, actes des colloques (Rome et Paris 1998), Rome, École française de Rome, 2001, pp. 1-12.
Wolt-Simon L., "Francesco Salviati", in Apollo, septembre 1998, vol. CXLVIII, n 439, pp. 53-54.
Monbeig Goguel Catherine, Costamagna Philippe, Francesco Salviati (1510-1563) ou la Bella Maniera, cat. exp. musée du Louvre, 1998, n 78 et 79, pp. 216-219.

Technical description

  • Francesco Salviati (Florence, 1510-Rome, 1563)

    Portrait of a young man wearing a cap

    After 1527

  • Red chalk

    H. 26.5 cm; L. 21.3 cm

  • Pierre Crozat collection; A. J. Dezallier d'Argenville collection, n. 297; sold in Paris, January 18-28, 1779, part of lot 4; Lenglier collection; Ch. P. de Saint-Morys collection; seizure of émigrés' possessions, 1793; allocated to the Museum, 1796-97

    INV2760

  • Prints and Drawings

    Due to their fragility, works on paper are not on permanent display in the museum.

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Additional information about the work

Bottom right, in pen and brown ink: Fra Bartolomeo di San Marco