Portrait of a Halberdier (Francesco Guardi?)

Object Details


Portrait of a Halberdier (Francesco Guardi?)


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


Italian (Florentine)


Italy (Place created)


1528 - 1530


Oil (or oil and tempera) on panel transferred to canvas


95.3 × 73 cm (37 1/2 × 28 3/4 in.)

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Standing before a fortress wall, this well-dressed foot soldier holds a combination spear and battle-ax called a halberd. His direct stare and swaggering pose are strikingly poignant, given the smooth unlined face and slim body that betray him as no more than a teenager. As a portraitist, Jacopo Pontormo was renowned for his subtle, complex psychological studies; here he conveyed the naive arrogance and vulnerability of youth. Court painter to Duke Cosimo de' Medici, Pontormo pioneered the Mannerist style in Florence, initiating a new, sophisticated type of portraiture in which elegance and aristocratic reserve play key roles. The sitter's identity has been much discussed. The Florentine painter Giorgio Vasari noted that during the siege of Florence in about 1528 Pontormo painted a "most beautiful work," a portrait of young nobleman Francesco Guardi as a soldier. Francesco's birthdate of 1514 would make him about the age of Pontormo's teenage sitter. Based on a Florentine inventory, Cosimo de' Medici himself has also been suggested as the painting's subject.

- 1612

Riccardo Romolo Riccardi (Florence, Italy), by inheritance through the Riccardi family, 1612.
Source: Recorded in 1612 [posthumous?] inventory.

1612 -

Riccardi Family (Florence, Italy)

1807 - 1810

Jean-Baptiste-Pierre Lebrun, 1748 - 1813 (Paris, France) [sold, Lebrun sale, Lebrun, Paris, March 20, 1810, lot 108, through Simon to Joseph Fesch.]

1810 - 1839

Cardinal Joseph Fesch, 1763 - 1839 (Paris, France; Rome, Italy), upon his death, held in trust by the estate.
Source: In 1839 and 1841 invs. as Bronzino.

1839 - 1845

Estate of Cardinal Joseph Fesch, 1763 - 1839 [Fesch sale, George, Rome, March 17, 1845, lot 754, to Warneck.]

1845 - possibly 1845

Warneck, possibly agent for Leroy d'Etiolles, possibly 1845.
Source: Auction catalogue.

possibly 1845 - 1860

Leroy d'Etiolles, 1798 - 1860, upon his death, held in trust by the estate.

1860 - 1861

Estate of Leroy d'Etiolles, 1798 - 1860 [sold, Leroy d'Etiolles sale, Escribe, Paris, February 21, 1861, lot 39, to Gros.]

1861 - possibly 1861

Gros, possibly as agent for Mathilde Bonaparte, possibly 1861.
Source: Procés verbal (Arch. Paris D42E341).

possibly 1861 - 1904

Mathilde Bonaparte, Princesse Française, 1820 - 1904 (Paris, France) [sold, Mathilde sale, Chevallier, Paris, May 17, 1904, lot 53, to Eugène Kraemer.]

1904 -

Eugène Kraemer (Paris, France)

by 1914 - 1918

James Stillman, 1850 - 1918 (New York, New York), by inheritance to Charles Chauncey Stillman, 1918.

1918 - 1926

Charles Chauncey Stillman, 1877 - 1926 (New York, New York), upon his death, held in trust by the estate.

1926 - 1927

Estate of Charles Chauncey Stillman, 1877 - 1926 [sold, Stillman sale, American Art Association, New York, February 3, 1927, lot 35, to Walpole Galleries.]


Walpole Galleries (New York, New York), sold to Chauncey Devereaux Stillman, 1927.

1927 - 1989

Chauncey Devereaux Stillman, 1907 - 1989 (New York, New York), sold, Christie's, New York, May 31, 1989, lot 72, to the J. Paul Getty Museum.

A Century of Progress (June to November 1934) (p. 131, pl. xxii)
  • The Art Institute of Chicago, June 1 to November 1, 1934
43 Portraits (January 26 to February 10, 1937)
  • Wadsworth Atheneum (Hartford), January 26 to February 10, 1937
Masterpieces of Art (European Paintings and Sculpture from 1300-1800) (May to October, 1939) (Cat. 287)
  • New York World's Fair (Queens), May to October, 1939
Pontormo to Greco: The Age of Mannerism (February 14 to March 28, 1954) (11)
  • Herron Museum of Art (Indianapolis), February 14 to March 28, 1954
Mostra del Pontormo e del primo manierismo fiorentino (1956) (63)
  • Palazzo Strozzi (Florence), 1956
The Italian Heritage (May 17 to August 29, 1967) (20)
  • Wildenstein & Company (New York), May 17 to August 29, 1967
L'Officina della `Maniera': Varietà e Fierezza Nell'arte Fiorentino / Mannerism in Florentine Art (September 28, 1996 to January 6, 1997)
  • Galleria degli Uffizi (Florence), September 28, 1996 to January 6, 1997

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Cropper, Elizabeth. "Reading Bronzino's Florentine Portraits." In Bronzino: Artist and Poet at the Court of the Medici, exh. cat. Carlo Falciani and Antonio Natali, eds. (Florence: Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, with Mandragora, 2010) pp. 250, 252-53, fig. 96.

Simons, Patricia. The sex of men in premodern Europe: A Cultural History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 101, 103, fig. 17.

Baker, Nicholas Scott. The Fruit of Liberty: Political Culture in the Florentine Renaissance, 1480-1550 (Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press, 2013) pp. 118-22, fig. 3.1.

Adams, Laurie Schneider. Italian Renaissance Art. 2nd ed. (2001; repr., Westview Press, 2014) pp. 407-8, figs. 18-19.

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