Lines and Colors art blog

Eye Candy for Today: Giovanni Boltraffio portrait

Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio
Portrait of a boy as saint Sebastian, Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio

Though the subject of this portrait by Giovanni Boltraffio may look feminine at first glance, the experts assure us by the title that it is, in fact, a boy.

It might be pointed out, however, that the experts also attributed the painting to Leonardo da Vinci for a time, before reassigning it to Boltraffio, a skilled member of Leonardo’s studio.

Personally, if I may be so bold, I would doubt an attribution to Leonardo simply because — to my eye — the anatomy of the head is not quite correct. Specifically the eye to our right does not seem to have the correct relationship to the turn of the head. I’m not an expert, of course, but I’ve noticed this as a weak point in a number paintings and drawings, particularly from the Middle Ages to the Early Renaissance. This is something that Leonardo never gets wrong. He literally understood human anatomy from the inside out.

See my earlier post here on Lines and Colors in which I flip the Mona Lisa from left to right.

Link below for Boltraffio’s portrait is to the Google Art Project; the original is in the the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow. There is a high-resolution downloadable version on Wikimedia Commons.


2 responses to “Eye Candy for Today: Giovanni Boltraffio portrait”

  1. Well, as they like to say, “good eye,” Charley.

  2. John kaay Avatar

    Seems like the eye on the right is tilted at the wrong angle also,
    I see this kind of thing fairly frequently.
    Makes me watch out for it in my own works.