Master Paintings

Master Paintings

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 37. Portrait of Man Holding a Lance.

Property from a European Private Collection

Niccolò dell'Abate

Portrait of Man Holding a Lance

Auction Closed

May 22, 04:23 PM GMT


50,000 - 60,000 USD

Lot Details


Property from a European Private Collection

Niccolò dell'Abate

Modena 1509/1521 - 1571 Fontainebleau

Portrait of Man Holding a Lance

oil on panel

panel: 25 ¼ by 20 ⅛ in.; 64.1 by 51.1 cm.

framed: 34 ⅜ by 29 ⅜ in.; 87.3 by 74.6 cm.

Count Leonida Mattaroli, Castel Marino;

Dona Maria Costa, Palermo, Sicily, and Plainfield, New Jersey;

Dr. Julius Held (1905-2002), Old Bennington, Vermont;

His estate sale, New York, Christie's, 27 January 2009, lot 40;

Where acquired by a private collector;

By whom sold, Vienna, Dorotheum, 17 October 2017, lot 19;

Where acquired by the present collector.

Important Old Masters in a New Light, exhibition catalogue, Monaco and London 2009, pp. 62-64, reproduced.

Monaco, Maison d'art, Important Old Masters in a New Light, 2009.

Niccolò dell'Abate executed this elegant portrait circa 1535-1540, shortly after a period of creative exchange with Parmigianino, who resided in Bologna for three years following the 1527 Sack of Rome. The influence of the latter's portraiture, which combined a heightened attention to physiognomy with psychological depth, is particularly apparent in the present work. Here, Dell'Abate fuses a sense of spontaneity—conveyed through the informality of the man's hand gestures—with an intensity of gaze that imbues the sitter with remarkable physical presence.

The artist also lavishes great attention on the sitter's attire. He wears a slashed doublet, through a band of which the man hooks his left thumb, with ruched shirt cuffs decorated with a black trim. An ostrich plume and bronze medallion adorn his jaunty cap, both of which denote the man's social rank. Likewise the lance would have served as both a cavalry weapon and a ceremonial attribute, underscoring the sitter's importance within both civic and military spheres.