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Self-Portrait About 1510

Not on display

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.

Glossary Open


An artwork behind a church altar featuring religious scenes or imagery which was usually the focus for the celebration of the Mass.


Text written on a book, document or artwork. Examples include the added information such as edition number and date on a print, or a dedication written in a book.

Altarpiece, Inscription


  • Acc. No. D 5296
  • Medium Black chalk, heightened with white on blue paper, laid down
  • Size 25.70 x 18.40 cm
  • Credit Keith Andrews Bequest 1991