Portrait of a gentleman with a falcon
circa 1548-circa 1550
between 1509 and 1512 - 1571
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.
Portrait of a gentleman, half length, wearing a black coat with grey sleeves and a hat, a falcon perched on his finger
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
Not on display
Shown in 6 exhibitions
Old masters: recent acquistions, Agnew's, London, London, 02 Nov 1971–10 Dec 1971
Master paintings: recent acquistions, Agnew's, London, London, 29 May 1975–04 Jul 1975
Splendour of the Baroque: Painting from Bologna 1550 to 1750:
Great gifts, great patrons, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Aug 1994–19 Oct 1994
The fine art of giving: 90 masterpieces from the William Bowmore Collection, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 02 Nov 1999–01 Apr 2000
European Old Masters 16th-19th Century from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, 28 Sep 2017–03 Dec 2017
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.
Referenced in 28 publications
Agnew's, London, Old masters: recent acquisitions, London, 1971, np, no 16, illus. Entered as 'Sebastiano del Piombo'.
Agnew's, London, Master paintings: recent acquisitions, London, 1975, p 22, no 21, illus p XI.
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 1994, Sydney, 1994, p 8.
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Great gifts, great patrons: an exhibition celebrating private patronage of the Gallery, Sydney, 1994, p .
Bernard Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Venetian School, 1957, vol 1, p 163. Entered as 'Sebastiano del Piombo', Contini Bonacossi coll.
Edmund Capon, Foundation Newsletter #7, Sydney, Dec 2005, np.
Edmund Capon, Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation Annual Report 1997, Sydney, 1997, p 17, col illus p 17.
Edmund Capon, Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation Annual Report 1991, Sydney, 1991, p 9.
Edmund Capon, Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation Annual Report 1992, Sydney, 1992, pp 7–8, 14, col illus, p 6, pp 3, 15 and cover (details).
Edmund Capon, Great philanthropists on trial : the art of the bequest, 'The James Fairfax collection', Melbourne, 2006, pp 126–35: p 135.
Edmund Capon, Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation Annual Report 1993, Sydney, 1993, p 1, 7, 12, col illus p 19.
Edmund Capon, Renée Free and Venetia Nelson (Editors), Splendour of the Baroque: Painting in Bologna from 1550 to 1750, Sydney, 1993, pp 3–4, col illus p 4.
Edmund Capon, Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation Annual Report 1995, Sydney, 1995, p 8.
Edmund Capon, Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation Annual Report 1996, Sydney, 1996, p 6.
Renée Free, AGNSW Collections, 'The Western Heritage, Renaissance to Twentieth Century', Sydney, 1994, pp 108–72: p 114, col illus p 114.
Terry Ingram, Financial Review, 'Old Master for NSW Gallery', Sydney, 09 Aug 1991, p 5.
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Paintings and Sculpture', Sydney, 1999, pp 17–77: col illus p 23.
Mauro Lucco and Carlo Volpe, L'opera completa di Sebastiano del Piombo, Milan, 1980, p 133, no 183, illus p 133. Entered as Agnew's.
Rodolfo Pallucchini, Sebastian Viniziano (Fra Sebastiano del Piombo), Milan, 1944, pp 71, 170, illus pl 75. Entered as 'Sebastiano del Piombo c.1530-33'.
Ron Radford (Curator), The fine art of giving: 90 masterpieces from the William Bowmore Collection, Adelaide, 1999, pp 38, 72 note 7, 73, no 5, col illus p 39.
The Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation and Michael Brand, Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation: Celebrating 30 years of art acquisitions, Sydney, 2015, p 14, col illus p 14.
Michael Wardell, Look, 'Foundation building: celebrating 21 years of raising money to buy art for the gallery', Sydney, Sep 2004, pp 14–17: p 15.
Johannes Wilde, The Burlington Magazine, vol 88, no 523, [Review of Palluchini's "Sebastiano Viniziano"], London, Oct 1946, pp 256–59: p 259.
Important old master pictures, London, 09 Dec 1988, p 52, no 33, col illus p 53.
Art and Australia, vol 15, no 3, Sydney, Mar 1978, pp 272–82: p 279, illus p 279.
Art Gallery of New South Wales annual report 1993 [for the year ended 30 June 1993], Sydney, 1993, pp 6, 20, 52.
Art Gallery of New South Wales annual report 2000, Sydney, 2000, p 58. Loan.
Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 1992 [for the year ended 30 June 1992], Sydney, 1992, p 60, col illus p 53.