About this artwork

An inscription on the back of this sheet states that this head was used by Palma in an altarpiece showing John the Baptist that was destined for a church in Serinalta (Palma’s home town) near Bergamo. No such painting survives. The drawing is in fact almost certainly a self-portrait, with the figure twisting his neck to peer into a mirror in order to capture his own reflection. The features are very similar to those of two probable painted self-portraits by Palma. In Palma’s portraits of other figures, the sitter is invariably presented to the viewer with his or her torso angled less sharply into the picture space.

Palma Vecchio

Palma Vecchio