Portrait of a Young Man
Francesco de' Rossi (called Francesco or "Cecchino" Salviati)
Italian, 1510 - 1563
Oil on wood panel
23 x 18 x 1/4 in. (58.4 x 45.7 x 0.6 cm)
Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1961 (2981.1)
Called Salviati after his early patron Cardinal Salviati, Francesco de' Rossi was much in demand as a portraitist, and his striking likenesses are among his best works. As is true for many of his portraits, the identity of this sitter is unknown. Salviati came under the influence of mannerism, a style of painting that subordinated the naturalism, rationality, and balance of the Renaissance and valued instead an individual style and the artist's inner vision of idealized beauty. This likeness reflects an ascetic portrait type that Salviati developed toward the end of his career. The muted palette, porcelainlike complexion of the sitter, and visual sobriety of the composition are characteristic of it. Indeed, the sitter studies the viewer with a side gaze and an expression that gives nothing away. In this manner, Salviati emphasized the young man's exquisitely refined elegance, a quality highly esteemed at the time.