Portrait of a Young Man 1629 Gian Lorenzo Bernini Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The multi-talented Gian Lorenzo Bernini did another masterpiece in Portrait of a Young Man in 1629.

In his works, Lorenzo would fit in any art medium and still come up with amazing work. In the Portrait of a Young Man, Lorenzo Bernini delivered a piece with ample details to make it look real. But this time, Lorenzo Bernini did not use marble but rather oil on canvas. To differentiate it from other portraits of a young man and prevent confusion, this piece was named Portrait of a Young Man (1629-1630). It was a distinction from similar work by artist Lorenzo Lotto's Portrait of a Young Man in 1506.

At the time of this painting, Gian Lorenzo was young and enthusiastic and so he captured the high spirits of the youth. The Portrait of a Young is a reflection of Lorenzo Bernini’s energy and vitality that later brought with it great works of art in paintings and marble.

In the Portrait of a Young Man, Gian Lorenzo Bernini used the borough style. It was part of Gian Lorenzo Bernini's application of numerous skills just like Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci who were his predecessors. In borough style of art, the artist applies imagination and creative skill in a visual form like a sculpture or painting to produce works that are appealing and appreciated for their emotional power and beauty. In any artistic style, art lovers and critics upon viewing and deeply examining the piece, are able to liberate the confined powers entrenched in the piece.

Everything regarding Portrait of a Young Man is quite amazing. A deeper look at this piece shows that Lorenzo Bernini painted it quickly and using his skill in the art, gave it some brilliant finishes. And just like in his previous pieces, Gian Lorenzo did not fully focus on the portrait’s background like his predecessor Leonardo da Vinci. In this piece, Gian Lorenzo looks contented with a background that is plain. But he does that on purpose to bring out the face of the young man in sheer details.

Gian Lorenzo painted the garments of the young man as though the young man was in a hurry. Looking at this painting, details are few with funny strokes of plain paint spread all over. It is an artistic strategy and a usual style in Gian Lorenzo's pieces. The idea behind this revolution was to allow Gian Lorenzo spend a lot of time on the face of the young man so as to make the painting a masterpiece.

The Portrait of a Young Man shows a hairline that encapsulates all there is in the head of the young man even though it is a bit blurred. Gian Lorenzo gives the face of the young man a boundless shade. It is a shade that has been painted to blend well with the complexion of the young man. In Gian Lorenzo's artistic prowess in making the portrait of the boy unique, he paints his subject - the boy - looking away from this picture. It is a technique that artist Titan used when he painted the pope gazing at space. He gives details to the ear of the young man making it look real. The eyebrows of the young man in Portrait of a Young Man blend with his facial expression.

The Portrait of a Young Man was commissioned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese and it is housed at Borghese Galleria in Rome, Italy. It is spontaneous and a free characterization of ease, great liveliness, animation and boldness that reminds us of the fervency and agility of the youth.