A. Pinelli, "Pierfrancesco di Jacopo Foschi," in Gazette des Beaux Arts, vol. 69, Paris 1967, p. 99, p. 105, no. 25, reproduced.
PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR
Foschi received his training from two of the most influential artists of cinquecento Florence - Andrea del Sarto and Jacopo Pontormo; he worked in the former's studio until his death in 1530, and in 1536 assisted the latter with the fresco decorations (now destroyed) of the loggia of the Villa Medici of Careggi, just outside of Florence.
The present portrait, which is datable to the 1530s, reveals the profound influence that both artists, but especially Pontormo, had on Foschi's style. It shares with the portraits of Pontormo a deep psychological intensity and sense of intimacy. Highly typical of both Foschi and Pontormo's manner is the placement of the sitter in the forefront of the picture plane, the sculptural treatment of drapery rendered in sharp, delineated planes, the angularity of the sitter's physiognomy, and the muted palette of blacks, browns and grays, highlighted with dashes of white, as seen here in the book at lower left and the delicate lace collar and ties peeking out of the sitter's jacket. Indeed, this Portrait of a Young Man may be compared in concept with Pontormo's 1534 Portrait of Alessandro de Medici, now in the John G. Johnson Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia. Both portraits depict a young man at work (one drawing, the other writing) in an austere interior, the simplicity of which serves to focus our attention on the psychological state of the sitter.
We are grateful to Dr. Simone Giordani, who, based on photographs, has confirmed the attribution of this portrait to Pier Francesco Foschi. He dates the portrait to the 1530s.