Project Description

PORTRAIT OF A MAN – Rapahel 1510 ca.

This painting is listed in and 18th century inventory of the Borghese gallery as a work by Raphael, but after the fidei commission of 1833 it was attributed to Holbein, without specifying whether the reference was to Hand Holbein or his father, Hans Holbein the elder. This attribution is explained by the anti-classical rendering of the face, which was executed in a period, before the middle of the first decade of the 16th century, when Rafael was influenced by the portraiture of northern Europe. The sitter’s robes and cap, both dark in color, give him a severe appearance, as do his facial features. Perhaps it was in order to soften this effect that, at an unspecified date, a fur collar was added; this was removed in the conservation of 1911, while the cap was given its original dimensions. After the hypothesis that the painting was a self portrait by Pinturicchio had been rejected, various attempts were made to identify the man of mature years depicted by Raphael. The names proposed were Francesco Maria Della Rovere and the poet and painter Aquilano, previously portrayed by Pinturicchio. The provenance of the painting to the Borghese gallery, which may have formed part of the Aldobrandini collection, is unknown.