(b. 1494, Pontormo, d. 1557, Firenze)

Alessandro de' Medici

Oil on panel, 101 x 82 cm
Museum of Art, Philadelphia

In this portrait, Duke Alessandro de' Medici is shown making a drawing in metalpoint of a woman in profile. In the latter part of the fifteenth century artists such as Verrocchio and Leonardo began to draw idealized female heads, often in profile. Michelangelo continued this practice. Alessandro's drawing seems to relate to this practice, possibly Pontormo was teaching the duke to draw.

The melancholy that saturates this portrait is characteristic of much of Pontormo's paintings.