Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Italian, 1431/32-1498 or
Piero del Pollaiuolo, Italian, c.1441-c.1496
Title: Profile Portrait of a Young Man
Date: c.1470-1475
Medium: Black chalk, traces of stylus and brown watercolour on paper
39.1 x 24.7 cm
Credit Line: Purchased, 1866
Object Number: NGI.2233
DescriptionThe Pollaiuolo brothers ran one of the most successful and innovative workshops in fifteenth-century Florence. They worked as painters, sculptors, engravers, goldsmiths and designers of embroidery. Often working in close collaboration across projects, they received commissions from the Medici family and numerous other princely and religious patrons. This idealised profile portrait of a handsome youth is among the earliest drawings in the Gallery’s collection. Until the late 1400s most portraits were executed in profile, to mimic ancient coins and medals. It is difficult to assess the sitter’s social status although his dress is similar to the working clothes worn by studio assistants at the time, known as garzone.

On the reverse of this sheet is an accomplished black-chalk drawing of a right foot. This type of foreshortened bare foot is very common in the paintings of both Antonio and Piero del Pollaiuolo. The paper support bears a ladder motif watermark which dates from the first half of the 1460s. On the front of this sheet, in the area of the boy’s shoulder, a stamp with the initials ‘JR’ is visible. This indicates that the drawing once belonged to the painter, collector and art critic Jonathan Richardson Senior.
ProvenanceJonathan Richardson, Sr.; Revd Dr H. Wellesley; purchased, Sotheby's, London, 25 June 1866, Revd Dr H. Wellesley sale, lot 906
Exhibition HistoryCentenary Exhibition, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, October - December 1964

The Drawings from The National Gallery of Ireland: a loan exhibition, Wildenstein, London, 31 May - 7 July 1967

Master European Drawings from the Collection of the National Gallery of Ireland, Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Colorado Springs Fine Arts Centre, Colorado; Art Gallery, University of Maryland, College Park; Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin; Pierpont Morgan Library, New York; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana; The Minneapolis Museum of Art, Minnesota; The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California; National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 1983

Domenico Ghirlandaio: Portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, 22 June - 10 October 2010

Le dame dei Pollaiolo. Una bottega fiorentina del Rinascimento, Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan, 6 November 2014 - 16 February 2015
InscriptionInscribed on verso: Anto del pollaiuolo. Paper dated by watermark 1460/65