An image of Portrait of a gentleman with a falcon

Nicolò dell'Abate

(Italy, France between 1509 and 1512 – 1571)

Portrait of a gentleman with a falcon

Other titles:
Portrait of a gentleman, half length, wearing a black coat with grey sleeves and a hat, a falcon perched on his finger
15th–19th c European art
Further information

Nicolo dell' Abate was an Emilian painter active in Modena, Bologna and ultimately the Fontainebleau of Henry II of France, where he worked with his compatriot, the equally gifted Primaristocrataticcio. He was associated with, rather than central to, the mannerist movement which was virtually a European court style in the first half of the sixteenth century. It was in the newly independent genre of landscape that dell' Abate made his most enduring contribution to the history of Western art. His classically inspired landscapes are staffed by elegant figures and typified by pastoral themes pre-empting those of Poussin and Claude. In portraiture dell' Abate was a canny observer of the interior life of his subjects, managing to suggest something of the uniqueness of their psychology. The north Italian aristocrat portrayed here has an almost indecisive air at odds with his masterful pose and sporty regalia. Dell' Abate clearly empathised with this equivocal quality, which he so subtly translates into paint.

AGNSW Handbook, 1999.

circa 1548-circa 1550
oil on canvas
107.5 x 84.5 cm stretcher; 139.5 x 117.0 x 8.0 cm frame
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation Purchase 1991
Accession number
Alessandro Contini-Bonacossi, Florence/Tuscany/Italy, [dealer]
Agnew's, London, London/England, By 1971, exhibited in 'Old masters – recent acquisitions' 2 Nov – 10 Dec 1971
William Bowmore, 1975?-19 Jul 1991, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, Purchased by the AGNSW from William Bowmore 1991. This painting was offered for sale at Christie's London, 9 December 1988 'Important Old Master Pictures', but did not sell.