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Portrait of a gentleman with a falcon

circa 1548-circa 1550


Nicolò dell'Abate

Italy, France

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.


Other Title

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

Media category


Materials used

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


Artist information

Nicolò dell'Abate

Works in the collection


Shown in 6 exhibitions

Exhibition history

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


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 29 publications


Edmund Capon, Great philanthropists on trial : the art of the bequest, 'The James Fairfax collection', Melbourne, 2006, pp 126–35: p 135.

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.

Tony Stephens, Sydney Morning Herald, 'Collector and giver of art – William Bowmore, 1909–2008', Sydney, 12 Jan 2008.

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.

Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation Annual Report 1991, Sydney, 1991, p 9.

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).

Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 1992 [for the year ended 30 June 1992], Sydney, 1992, p 60, col illus p 53.

Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation Annual Report 1993, Sydney, 1993, p 1, 7, 12, col illus p 19.

Splendour of the Baroque: Painting in Bologna from 1550 to 1750, Sydney, 1993, pp 3–4, col illus p 4.

Sebastian Viniziano (Fra Sebastiano del Piombo), Milan, 1944, pp 71, 170, illus pl 75. Entered as 'Sebastiano del Piombo c.1530-33'.

Great gifts, great patrons: an exhibition celebrating private patronage of the Gallery, Sydney, 1994, p [1].

Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 1994, Sydney, 1994, p 8.

Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation Annual Report 1995, Sydney, 1995, p 8.

Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation Annual Report 1996, Sydney, 1996, p 6.

Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation Annual Report 1997, Sydney, 1997, p 17, col illus p 17.

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.

Art Gallery of New South Wales annual report 2000, Sydney, 2000, p 58. Loan.

Foundation Newsletter #7, Sydney, Dec 2005, np.

Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation: Celebrating 30 years of art acquisitions, Sydney, 2015, p 14, col illus p 14.

Art Gallery of New South Wales annual report 1993 [for the year ended 30 June 1993], Sydney, 1993, pp 6, 20, 52.

Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Venetian School, 1957, vol 1, p 163. Entered as 'Sebastiano del Piombo', Contini Bonacossi coll.

Old masters: recent acquisitions, London, 1971, np, no 16, illus. Entered as 'Sebastiano del Piombo'.

Master paintings: recent acquisitions, London, 1975, p 22, no 21, illus p XI.

Art and Australia, vol 15, no 3, Sydney, Mar 1978, pp 272–82: p 279, illus p 279.

L'opera completa di Sebastiano del Piombo, Milan, 1980, p 133, no 183, illus p 133. Entered as Agnew's.

Important old master pictures, London, 09 Dec 1988, p 52, no 33, col illus p 53.