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Portrait of a Young Man
Andrea del Sarto
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We have interrupted a young man reading; he turns to look over his shoulder at us. The unguarded look creates the impression that we are seeing him as he really is. His identity is uncertain, although he may be the stationer Lorenzo di Matteo Peri, whose family commissioned Andrea del Sarto’s Dispute on the Trinity (Galleria Palatina, Florence) for their altar in the church of S. Jacopo tra Fossi in Florence.

Daylight falls as if from a high narrow window to our left, casting a soft clear light, brilliant on the pleats of his fine white shirt. It reflects up to define the curve of his jaw, the cleft in his chin, the line of his nose and the twist of his neck. His eyes smoulder, creating the sense that this is only a momentary glance before he turns away again.

The spiral fluidity of the pose is derived from Leonardo’s work, as are the smoky, atmospheric effects. The restriction of colour and dramatic lighting add to the portrait’s intensity.

Key facts
Artist Andrea del Sarto
Artist dates 1486 - 1530
Full title Portrait of a Young Man
Date made about 1517-18
Medium and support Oil on linen
Dimensions 72.4 x 57.2 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1862
Inventory number NG690
Location in Gallery Room 8
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