The sitter is almost certainly Girolamo Benivieni (1453 - 1542), a significant figure in Florentine literary and political circles. Benivieni and his adored friend, the humanist poet and philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, were among the first of the intellectual coterie formerly surrounding Lorenzo de' Medici to fall under the influence of the Dominican preacher and reformer Girolamo Savonarola.

Benivieni denounced his own early love poetry and instead wrote songs to accompany the bonfires of frivolous and erotic objects organised by Savonarola's youthful followers. He also translated Savonarola's teachings from Latin. He later retired from public life but his advice was sought both by Medicean and republican factions in the 1520s and 1530s. This portrait may reflect one made by his friend Lorenzo di Credi, another follower of Savonarola.

Key facts

Artist
Artist dates
1483 - 1561
Full title
Portrait of Girolamo Benivieni
Date made
probably about 1510-20
Medium and support
Oil on wood
Dimensions
70.5 x 56.2 cm
Acquisition credit
Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number
NG2491
Location in Gallery