Paolo Veronese (Paolo Caliari) (Italian, Venetian, 15281588)
Oil on canvas; 68 3/8 x 40 1/8 in. (173.7 x 101.9 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.105)
This portrait, possibly dating from the 1570s, once belonged to the Martinengo family of Brescia, who claimed that it depicted a member of the Colleoni family of Bergamo; a bust-length portrait of the same boy by Veronese is in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. The young man is shown standing in front of a wall that opens onto a landscape with a river and a bridge. The portrait may originally have hung to the side of a door or some other architectural element that would have heightened its feigned three-dimensionality. In conception the picture recalls Veronese's illusionistic frescoes in the Villa Maser, near Vicenza, in which members of the Maser family are shown as though entering the space of the viewer through an open door. X-radiography has revealed that the position of the dog was radically altered by Veronese. The picture has been abraded and the sky, painted in a fugitive smalt blue, has lost most of its color.