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Portrait of a Gentleman
Volterra, Daniele Ricciarelli da
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Volterra, Daniele Ricciarelli da

Volterra, Pisa, Tuscany, 1509 - Rome, 1566

Volterra, Daniele Ricciarelli da See author's file

Portrait of a Gentleman

1550 - 1555. Oil on panel.
Room 049

Michel Hochmann identified the painting in the Capodimonte as the ‘Quadretto corniciato di pero tinto con un ritratto di un giovane, in pietra di Genova, di mano del medesimo [Daniele’] refered to in the 1600 inventory of the possessions of the antiquarian Fulvio Orsini (1529–1600). The artist referred to is Daniele Ricciarelli, known as Daniele da Volterra, and the attribution of the work seems secure given the connections between Orsini and Volterra, both of whom were closely linked to the Farnese family. In addition, the attributions in the inventory followed those of Fulvio Orsini himself. It is also likely that Orsini may have acquired a considerable number of the paintings that remained in Volterra’s workshop on his death, which would explain the large number of works by the artist (twelve) that Orsini owned and the fact that many of them are unfinished. This would explain why Orsini did not know the name of the sitter, as he did not commission the portrait. What seems clear is that the Prado and Capodimonte paintings were executed by the same artist and that the sitter is the same in both cases. Defining the purpose of the Capodimonte painting is less easy. It has been noted that it is unfinished and this is certainly true, but the lack of finish is selective with the face highly detailed and the clothing barely sketched in.This fact, together with the choice of the smaller, bust-length format, suggested that it is a ‘ricordo’ produced to show to potential clients for portraits; hence the attention to the face, which is essential in any portrait, and the fact that Volterra kept it in his studio. As such it would be similar to the Portrait of Pope Clement VII by Sebastiano del Piombo, also in the Capodimonte Museum (inv. Q141) which was as well in the Farnese collection and which may have been owned by Fulvio Orsini. In both cases these are ‘ricordi’ made on slate that remained in the studios of their respective creators until their death. With regard to the present two paintings, it is not known whether the Prado work is the first version (which is more likely given the lack of other similar ones) or whether it was based on the ‘ricordo’ in Naples. Certain similarities with the David and Goliath in the Louvre, also painted on slate around 1555, suggest a comparable dating for these two portraits. The lack of other known portraits by Volterra makes it difficult to identify his models in this genre, as the evident influence of Michelangelo in the rest of his oeuvre is not viable here.The Prado painting reveals the influence of two of the principal portraitists active in Rome when Volterra arrived in that city in 1535: Jacopino del Conte (c. 1515–1598) and above all Sebastiano del Piombo (1485–1547).Volterra would have learned the technique of painting on slate from Piombo and his manner of composing portraits, locating the halflength model before a dark background and making use of strong contrasts of light and shade, particularly in the face, in order to emphasise the figure’s volume.This acquires a sense of threedimensionality similar to that of his fresco painting and reveals his interest in sculpture. Nothing certain can be stated with regard to the sitter’s identity other than that he is a nobleman, evident in the large toothed sword on which he rests his left arm, and someone with intellectual interests, as indicated by the presence of the book. (Falomir Faus, M.: El retrato del Renacimiento, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2008, p. 499)


Technical data

Inventory number
Volterra, Daniele Ricciarelli da
Portrait of a Gentleman
1550 - 1555
Height: 101 cm; Width: 64 cm
Royal Collection (colección Felipe V, Palacio de La Granja de San Ildefonso, Segovia, 1727; col. Felipe V, La Granja, pieza donde se dice misa, 1746, nº 118; La Granja, 1794, nº 118; Palacio Real, Madrid, Real Estampilla, 1827, nº 118).

Bibliography +

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de los cuadros del Real Museo de Pintura y Escultur, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1854.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972, pp. 123.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: pintura italiana anterior a 1600, Gredos, Madrid, 1979, pp. 108.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 126.

Hochmann, M., Les dessins et le peintures de Fulvio Orsini et la collection Farnèse, Melanges de L'Ecole Français de Rome, Italie et le Mediterranée, I, 1993, pp. 62-63.

l Farnese: arte e collezionismo, Electa, Milán, 1995, pp. 197-199.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Pintura italiana del Renacimiento: guía, Museo del PradoAldeasa, Madrid, 1999, pp. 98.

Falomir Faus, Miguel, Notas sobre obras del museo. Un retrato de Daniele da Volterra en el Museo del Prado., Boletín del Museo del Prado, XVIII, 2000, pp. 119.

Aterido Fernández, Ángel; Martínez Cuesta, Juan; Pérez Preciado, José Juan, Colecciones de pinturas de Felipe V e Isabel Farnesio. Inventarios Reales, II, Fundación de Apoyo de la Historia del Arte Hispánico, Madrid, 2004, pp. 487.

El retrato del Renacimiento, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2008, pp. 341-343.

González Mozo, A, 'La imagen pintada' En:, In lapide depictum. Pintura italiana sobre piedra, 1530-1555, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2018, pp. 103-135 [p.105,120,123 f.78].

González, A. Rábano, I. Cárdenas, V. Garcia Guinea, J. Walter, Ph. Castaing, J., 'Materiales y Técnicas' En:, In lapide depictum. Pintura italiana sobre piedra, 1530-1555, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2018, pp. 93-101 [78].

Inventario: Pinturas del Real Sitio de San Ildefonso. Inventario hecho a la muerte del Señor Carlos III. 1794. (Nº 18116), pp. 7.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 734.
Bronzino (Angel) / 734. Retrato de un joven desconocido.. / Está vestido con una ropilla de color oscuro y camisa bordada. Tiene una grande espada de dos manos arrimada al hombro izquierdo, y la derecha sobre un libro abierto. Parece ser de edad de 18 á 20 años. (Figura de medio cuerpo) (Tabla). / Alto 3 pies, 7 pulg., 6 lin; ancho 2 pies, 3 pulg, 6 Lin.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 82.
82.-Retrato de un jóven desconocido. / Alto 1,01. Ancho 0,64.-Tabla. / Viste jubón oscuro pespunteado, con brahones negros rajados, y tiene su camisa puntilla de encaje en cuello y puños. Abraza un montante ceñido á su hombro izquierdo, con la cruz descansando sobre la muñeca de la mano, suspendida en alto, y la derecha puesta sobre un libro abierto en una mesa. Representa de siez y ocho á veinte años de edad.-Figura de medio cuerpo y tamaño natural. / Hemos procurado en vano indagar quien sea el personaje retratado en esta bellísima tabla...

Inv. Felipe V, La Granja, 1746. Núm. 118.
Una Pintura origl en Tabla, de mano de Broncino, que representa el Retrato de un Hombre, con vestido acuchillado, puesta la mano derecha sobre un Libro havierto tiene una vara, y diez dedos de alto; dos tercias, y quatro de ancho. Marco dorado liso con Targetas a las Esquinas ... 1

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, La Granja, 1794. Núm. 118.
[2086] 118 / Otra [pintura] en tabla de quatro pies y medio de alto, por tres de ancho marco dorado con talla en las esquinas representa un Joben con bestido acuchillado, balona y un libro en mil y quinientos reales: Broncino ... 1500

Inscriptions +

Inscribed in white. Front, lower left corner

28 [¿error de numeración catálogo Real Museo 1854-1857?]
Inscribed in yellow. Front, lower right corner

ELISABETH DEI GRATIA / HISPANIARVM REGINA [dentro de una gráfila], alrededor de los escudos de Felipe V e Isabel Farnesio acolados]

Exhibitions +

In Lapide Depictum
17.04.2018 - 05.08.2018

The Renaissance Portrait
03.06.2008 - 07.09.2008

Location +

Room 049 (On Display)


Displayed objects +

Weapons / Arms: Mandoble


Update date: 09-04-2022 | Registry created on 02-12-2015

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