Object Details




Annibale Carracci (Italian, 1560 - 1609)




early 1580s


Pen and brown ink


13.5 × 10.8 cm (5 5/16 × 4 1/4 in.)

See more

See less

The sad, staring eyes, prominent ears that sit a bit far back on the head, tousled hair, and the long flat nose identify this as Annibale Carracci. He assumed an informal pose, leaning slightly forward with his right elbow extending slightly beyond the frame's bottom and casting a shadow. As he drew himself in the mirror, his right hand was moving, resulting in the tangle of lines representing the left arm. Skeletal beasts with beaked heads and long necks peer down from the upper corners, reminders of mortality, and two beady-eyed dolphins with tails in the air inhabit the bottom corners.

Carracci humorously portrayed himself here as a scruffy, ordinary individual. In a format usually reserved for formal, flattering portraits, he demonstrated his ability to quickly pick out the most important, expressive features. In a display of originality, he leans forward out of the picture frame as if from a window.

Francesco Maria Niccolò Gabburri, who assembled numerous drawn self-portraits and portraits of artists, once owned this sheet. He also owned the Getty Museum's Self-portraitby Gaetano Sabatini, which shares the oval format. This drawing remains laid down on the original Gabburri mount, but it has been cut down drastically.


Francesco Maria Niccolò Gabburri, Italian, died 1742

acquired 1766 or 1767

Wiliam Kent

1711 - 1784

Charles Rogers, English, 1711 - 1784


Private Collection (Oxfordshire, England)


Richard Day


Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel (Munich, Germany)

Two Centuries of Drawings from Bologna (December 15, 1998 to February 28, 1999)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 15, 1998 to February 28, 1999
Drawings of Annibale Carracci (September 26, 1999 to January 9, 2000)
  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), September 26, 1999 to January 9, 2000
Posing for Posterity: Portrait Drawings from the Collection (October 30, 2001 to January 20, 2002)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), October 30, 2001 to January 20, 2002
Annibale Carracci (September 22, 2006 to May 6, 2007) (15)
  • Museo Civico Archaeologico, Bologna, September 22, 2006 to January 7, 2007
Images of the Artist (November 15, 2011 to February 12, 2012)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), November 15, 2011 to February 12, 2012