Portrait of a Young Man II Sandro Botticelli 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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This Portrait of a Young Man follows a similar approach to that found in another Botticelli portrait. Both paintings capture local Florentine men, though there is a variation in the portrait format used, with this one placing the young man at a slight angle rather than straight-on.

The alternative face-on version can be found at the National Gallery in London, UK, where as this version is now owned by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.. Both paintings have been dated at around 1483 and it is likely that they were produced at around the same time, hence the similarity in content. The version in front of us here is one of the very few Botticelli paintings to be found in the US, with most remaining in the artist's native Europe. Some of his installed frescoes would be difficult to move safelty and so those remain in their original locations, whilst others have made their way to major art galleries in France and the UK, plus elsewhere in Italy. Botticelli himself was somewhat forgotten until around the 19th century when a re-appraisal of his career returned his status to the upper reaches of the Renaissance movement where it remains today. There remains a particular interest in the key highlights of his career, with the likes of The Birth of Venus and Primavera being very much a part of mainstream culture.

This portrait is sized at 46cm in height and 43cm in width. Both versions feature a young man with red cap looking directly at us. He wears a brown tunic, though the embroidered detail varies slightly between the two. In this piece there are white stripes around his shoulders and a slightly thicker detail down the centre of his torso. His hair here hangs down to his shoulders and his face looks slightly longer and narrower. As mentioned, the model's angle is tweaked slightly as he puts his left shoulder slightly further forward which creates an angle from which he looks directly at us. His head is also leaned away from us too. A light shadow is cast below his nose and chin, gives us a clue as to where light was coming within this painting, as the background is actually dark and devoid of any detail. Botticelli also chooses here to include one of the model's hands, which appears from below and gently holds his own chest.

These two portraits are often mentioned alongside an earlier portrait which itself can be found within the collection of the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. The artist himself loved this city and much of its original charm from his time still remains there today, alongside a number of highly respected galleries which display some of the incredible achievements which occured during the Renaissance. Florence played a crucial role in the rise of Italian art during the Renaissance, with the country being a collection of different kingdoms which together produced innovative art which helped to push ideas on from the Middle Ages. Botticelli himself would certainly help to contribute some of these new methods, particularly in terms of how he composed his portraits as shown in the variety of formats found across his career.

Portrait of a Young Man National Gallery of Art Sandro Botticelli