ABBATE, Niccolò dell'
(b. 1509, Modena, d. 1571, Fontainebleau)

Portrait of a Gentleman with a Falcon

Oil on canvas, 140 x 117 cm
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

The portrait shows a gentleman, half length, wearing a black coat with grey sleeves and a hat, a falcon perched on his finger.

Niccolò dell'Abbate was associated with the Mannerist movement which was virtually a European court style in the first half of the sixteenth century. It was in the newly independent genre of landscape that dell'Abbate made his most enduring contribution to the history of Western art. In portraiture he was a canny observer of the interior life of his subjects, managing to suggest something of the uniqueness of their psychology. The north Italian aristocrat portrayed here has an almost indecisive air at odds with his masterful pose and sporty regalia.