PENNI, Giovan Francesco
(b. ca. 1496, Firenze, d. ca. 1528, Napoli)

Portrait of a Young Man

c. 1527
Oil on panel
Hunter College, New York

Curiously few portraits painted by Raphael's students between the premature death of their master, on 6 April 1520, and the Sack of Rome in 1527, have survived. No evidence remains of portraits painted by Giulio Romano in Rome after Raphael's death, even though Giulio excelled in this genre. The only artist from Raphael's studio who left portraits made during this period is the Florentine Giovan Francesco Penni. These portraits have the refinement that characterizes the works executed during the early reign of Pope Clement VII [reigned 1523-1534].

The sitter for the present painting did not belong to the Roman aristocracy and could not be portrayed as such; thus, the artist opted for a more austere presentation that was more appropriate for a figure from the bourgeoisie.