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Portrait of a Young Man

Vincenzo Catenaprobably about 1510

The National Gallery, London

The National Gallery, London

An unindentified young man dressed plainly in black meets the viewer's gaze. He sits upright and motionless while behind him clouds race across the sky. The composition has been carefully centred so that a vertical line could be drawn straight down the bridge of his nose and through the fastening of his jacket.

The painting has been attributed to Catena for stylistic reasons since 1897. It may be identical with a portrait recorded as the artist's work in 1643. A probable date of about 1510 has been suggested.

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Details

  • Title: Portrait of a Young Man
  • Creator: Vincenzo Catena
  • Date Created: probably about 1510
  • Physical Dimensions: 30.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on wood
  • School: Italian (Venetian)
  • More Info: Explore the National Gallery’s paintings online
  • Inventory number: NG1121
  • Artist Dates: active 1506 - 1531
  • Artist Biography: Vincenzo Catena was a Venetian who seems to have started painting in the style of Bellini and his follower Cima. By 1506 he had formed a partnership with Giorgione, whose style continued to influence him, even after Giorgione's death in 1510. Catena's work is less lyrical than Giorgione's but has a solidity and charm of its own. The first notice of Catena is the inscription on the back of Giorgione's portrait of ''Laura'' dated 1506 (in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna) describing Catena as his partner. Such partnerships were not uncommon in the 15th and 16th centuries. Catena appears to have had an independent income and to have moved in the circles of Venetian humanists such as Pietro Bembo. This may have been how he met Giorgione. A comparison of the background of Catena's 'Warrior adoring the Infant Christ' with Giorgione's 'Sunset Landscape' shows Catena's debt to him.
  • Acquisition Credit: Bought, 1882

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