Portrait of a Young Man

Object Details


Portrait of a Young Man


Unknown maker, Italian, Ferrarese School, 15th century




second half of 15th century


Oil possibly mixed with tempera on panel

Object Number:



22.9 × 16.2 cm (9 × 6 3/8 in.)

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A young man with a handsome profile and perfectly coiffed hair stares determinedly out of the panel. He may be a Hungarian poet, Janus Pannonius, who studied in Italy in the mid-1400s.

This painting's linearity, realism, and emphasis on precise representation of detail typifies the style of artists in Ferrara, Italy, in the late 1400s. The Ferrarese court preferred profile views and delicate coloring, such as this unknown artist displayed. The delicacy and fine details suggest that the artist might have had experience in manuscript illumination.

An unknown painter created this picture not long after oil painting was introduced into Italy from Northern Europe. The artist may have experimented with the new medium, possibly combining oil paint with Italy's traditional painting medium for both panels and manuscripts, tempera paint.

The back of the panel is painted in imitation of porphyry, indicating that it may have been framed and hinged to a second panel, forming a diptych.

- about 1980

Joseph Guttman, sold to Marco Grassi, about 1980.

about 1980 - 1985

Grassi Studio LLC, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1985.

From Borso to Cesare d'Este: The School of Ferrara 1450 - 1628 (June 1 to August 1, 1984)
  • Matthiesen Fine Art Ltd. (London), June 1 to August 1, 1984

Gilbert, Creighton. "London: Ferrara at Matthiesen." Burlington Magazine 126, no. 970 (September 1984), p. 585.

Hughes, Graham. Review of Ferrara at Matthiesen. London. Arts Review 36, no. 13. (July 6, 1984), p. 337, ill.

Sgarbi, Vittorio. "Arte/La 'Scuola Ferrarese' alla Galleria Matthiesen Londra." Europeo (June 30, 1984), p. 79.

From Borso to Cesare d'Este. The School of Ferrara 1450-1628, exh. cat. (London: Matthiesen Fine Art, 1984), p. 65, no. 7, ill.

Da Borso a Cesare d'Este la Scuola Di Ferrara 1450-1628, exh. cat. (Ferrara: Editrice Belriguardo, 1985), p. 80, no. 7, ill.

"Acquisitions/1985." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 14 (1986), p. 211, no. 109.

Birnbaum, Marianna D. "Thoughts on Janus Pannonius and the 'Portrait of a Young Man' in the J. Paul Getty Museum." Acta Historiae Artium 35, nos. 1-2 (1990-1992), pp. 41-42, fig. 1.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 64, ill.