The sitter of this arresting work, Portrait of a Young Man (1530s) remains unknown, but he was part of Bronzino’s close circle of literary friends in Florence, and probable 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, mask-like face suggested in the folds of the youth’s breeches as comments unmasks and disguises. Bronzino has delineated a sophisticated visual identity for the sitter.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.