Portrait of a Young Man

Portrait of a Young Man, Piero di Cosimo, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London
Portrait of a Young Man, Piero di Cosimo, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

When this picture was bought, they thought it was by Leonardo.  It's the earliest picture in the collection, painted around 1500.

This is the oldest painting in the gallery and is an example of High Renaissance portraiture.  It is one of the few known portraits that can be definitely ascribed to Piero.  In 1813 it was attributed to Leonardo de Vinciand later to Bolraffio.  Nowadays its attribution to Piero seems to be accepted. 

It is painted on wood using tempera, a mixture of egg yolk and pigments on a white ground made from gesso.  The colours used are a great deal brighter than that of the later work seen in the gallery.  At this present time not all of the painting can be viewed as the frame conceals an additional piece of the fragment.  The 3-D image and lack of shadows makes it typical of the Renaissance period. It is extremely realistic and precise.  This piece of work gives a good example of how Piero’s style and technique is similar to that of Michelangelo.

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