European Art: 14th-16th Centuries

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Portrait of a Young Man, c. 1550

Francesco dei Rossi Salviati

Italian, 1510-1563
Oil on panel
15-7/8 x 11-3/4 in. (40.3 x 29.8 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
M.1979.56.P

On view

This gifted Italian artist came of age in the generation following the early Mannerism of Rosso Fiorentino. He worked in the service of the Farnese in Rome and for Duke Cosimo de Medici in his native Florence. Within this elite circle of talented court artists that included Giorgio Vasari and Benvenuto Cellini, they created work of great elegance and complexity that we now associate with the High Mannerist style. Although best known for his large decorative fresco schemes, Salviati was a subtle and gifted portraitist. When he dispensed with the details and trappings of formal portraiture, his direct approach revealed the human, even tender aspects inherent in the genre. This portrait gives the impression of a spontaneous oil sketch, thanks to Salviati’s animated brushwork, the subject’s pose—a passing glance backwards over his shoulder—and his unfixed gaze, as though lost in a momentary dream world.

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