(b. 1452, Vinci, d. 1519, Cloux, near Amboise)

Portrait of a Musician

Oil on panel, 43 x 31 cm
Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan

It was not until 1904 that the hand and sheet of music were discovered underneath overpaintings, and it is these that have given the painting its present title. Since this discovery, efforts have also been made to identify the person depicted. The names of two important court musicians in Milan during that period are known: Franchino Gaffurio (1451-1522) and Josquin des Prés (c. 1450-1521). But there is no clear indication enabling us to identify either of these two in this portrait.

The attribution to Leonardo is debated. If the picture is Leonardo's work, this is the only portrait of a man executed by Leonardo.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 9 minutes):
Josquin Desprez: Motet (In principio erat verbum)