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
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
The provenance of this work is under review and records will be updated as new details become available. The Gallery welcomes any information. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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.