Paolo Borroni - inv. 1611

Paolo Borroni (1749-1819)

Portrait of a Young Draughtsman
18th century, first half
27 x 21 cm
1879 bequest Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli
Inv. 1611

Ghislandi Room
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A young boy, jacket and shirt open on his chest, looks at us inquiringly, as though he was studying us before painting our portrait. He is holding a pencil in his right hand, resting on a sheet of paper covered with a few strokes, and is wearing a shapeless hat, in a style typical of artists.
The work can be included among the so-called “character head studies”: some are true portraits, others merely imaginary, and they often portray young boys as adults or as allegorical figures, as Fra’ Galgario used to do.
This is a rare work of this genre by Paolo Borroni, who worked mainly in the Voghera area after his apprenticeship in Parma and Rome and a study trip to Venice to see works by Titian. In the Napoleonic period, he adapted his style to suit French tastes and had a long career, during which he produced works of varying quality.