About this artwork

In this portrait sketch, the artist chose to focus on the pose of the figure’s body rather than his facial features. The man is seated informally with his arms resting on the arms of a chair and with his hands clasped. There is no surviving portrait by Bassano that matches this pose, but he may have been experimenting with different seated positions with the intention of producing a painted portrait. This would explain why the features have been given less attention than the torso and arms. The free handling of the drawing is consistent with Bassano’s later work, and probably dates from the 1560s or 1570s.

Jacopo Bassano (Jacopo dal Ponte)

Jacopo Bassano (Jacopo dal Ponte)

Jacopo dal Ponte was named Bassano after his native town of Bassano del Grappa, near Venice. Born into a family of painters he received his initial training from his father and then studied in Venice. He became close friends with Tintoretto and Veronese. He returned to Bassano and ran the family workshop producing altarpieces, paintings of Biblical stories, some portraits and designs for a wide range of items including processional banners. He collected and made extensive use of prints as a resource for his compositions. Bassano favoured lively, crowded scenes full of naturalistic detail.