ANTONELLO da Messina
(b. ca. 1430, Messina, d 1479, Messina)

Portrait of a Young Man

Oil on wood, 27 x 21 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

All of Antonello's portraits depict men, who are shown bust-length and in three-quarter view. With one exception, the sitters are set against a dark, neutral background. In the group of his early portraits, painted before 1474, he experimented with pose, costume, and expression. The early panels were made in Sicily from the late 1460s onward with an analytical approach that reflects Antonello's admiration for works by Netherlandish artists.

In the present portrait, the headgear of the unidentified young man indicates that he was part of the established Venetian community in Messina.