Skip to main content

Francesco Francia, Bartolomeo Bianchini

Key facts
Full title Bartolomeo Bianchini
Artist Francesco Francia
Artist dates about 1447 - 1517
Date made about 1493-5
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 56.5 × 40.6 cm
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2487
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Bartolomeo Bianchini
Francesco Francia

Bartolomeo Bianchini was a nobleman and humanist scholar from Bologna – his name is written on the letter he holds. This is the earliest known use of a letter as a means of naming the sitter in an Italian portrait.

The painted ledge makes it appear that we are looking through a window. Bianchini’s hand seems to project over the ledge, creating the illusion that our world and the painted world are continuous, making the portrait seem more real. Ledges like this are used for the same effect in many earlier Netherlandish portraits .

The lighting from the right is unusual, suggesting that this portrait might once have been paired with a companion picture lit from the left – perhaps a portrait of the man who wrote the letter. This portrait seems to be based on the Portrait of a Man with a Ring by Francesco del Cossa (Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid).

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo