Reclining Youth

Object Details

Title:

Reclining Youth

Artist/Maker(s):

Ascribed to Pontormo (Jacopo Carucci) (Italian (Florentine), 1494 - 1557)

( Agnolo Bronzino ? ) (Italian, 1503 - 1572)

Culture:

Italian

Date:

about 1525

Medium:

Black chalk

Dimensions:

15.7 x 27.5 cm (6 3/16 x 10 13/16 in.)

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Using soft, broad strokes of black chalk, Pontormo built up the figure of a young man lying on his right side, propping himself up on his elbow. Ambiguous facial features indicate that Pontormo was more interested in the figure's posture than in a true likeness of an individual. Pontormo made this drawing as a preparatory study for a scene of the martyrdom of Saint Lawrencefor theCertosa del Galluzzo, a monastery outside Florence. However, it was Pontormo's pupil Bronzino who executed the finished fresco.

Saint Lawrence is usually depicted as a young man. According to legend, Lawrence was a third-century Roman deacon who was responsible for distributing goods to the poor. When a greedy high-ranking official demanded that Lawrence give him the church's treasure, Lawrence presented a group of poor people, saying that they were the church's treasure. For this defiant act, he was arrested and tortured on a burning gridiron. In the finished work, Bronzino made only small changes to Pontormo's composition. Bronzino's figure lies on a gridiron and turns his head to the left, as he is crowned by a cherub. He holds a palm leaf in his left hand, an emblem of martyrdom. Pontormo's drawing probably provided Bronzino with a model for human musculature and proportions that artists strived to achieve in the 1500s.

Provenance

Sir Max Michaelis, 1860 - 1932 (Cape Town, South Africa)

Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox Ltd., sold to The J. Paul Getty Museum, 1990.

- 1989

Unknown Collection [sold, Christie's, London, July 4, 1989, lot 6, to Hazlitt, Gooden, and Fox.]

Exhibitions
Michelangelo to Vasari: Drawing the Figure in Renaissance Florence (July 15 to October 19, 2003)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 15 to October 19, 2003, (Cat.)
Bronzino Drawings (January 18 to April 18, 2010)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), January 18 to April 18, 2010, (Cat. 1)