This portrait represents Anton Francesco degli Albizzi (1486–1537), a political figure who participated in the establishment of the Florentine Republic. He was described as overbearing, haughty, and restless and was beheaded for treason by Cosimo I de' Medici, grand duke of Tuscany. The rhetorical grandeur with which Sebastiano del Piombo has imbued the portrait demonstrates why he is considered one of the major figures in High Renaissance painting. According to the famous 16th-century biographer Giorgio Vasari, Sebastiano trained with Renaissance painter Giovanni Bellini in Venice and was also influenced by Renaissance painter Giorgione. In 1511, Sebastiano went to Rome, where he formed both a friendship and professional relationship with Michelangelo, under whose guidance Sebastiano developed a distinctive, powerful, and original personal style. Vasari praised this particular work, writing that the artist made it appear "to be not painted but really alive. . . . The head and hands of the portrait were things truly marvelous, to say nothing of the beautiful execution of the velvets, the linings, the satins, and all the other parts of the picture . . . all Florence was amazed at this portrait of Anton Francesco."

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Sebastiano del Piombo, Italian (Venetian), c. 1485/86–1547
Anton Francesco degli Albizzi
Oil on canvas
Canvas: 58 × 38 7/8 in. (147.3 × 98.7 cm) Frame: 67 × 52 3/4 × 2 7/8 in. (170.2 × 134 × 7.3 cm)
Credit Line

The Samuel H. Kress Collection

Current Location
The Audrey Jones Beck Building
Accession Number

Albizzi family until 17th century; Falconieri family (possibly from mid-17th century); Walsh Porter; Thomas Lister Parker, Broxholme, in 1804; Robert Heathcote, 1805; George, 4th Earl of Aberdeen, 1805; Charles Cecil Hope, 3rd Earl of Liverpool, by c. 1829; Richard Sanderson; Frederick John, Lord Monson, Gatton Park, near Reigate, by 1857; sold by Viscount Oxenbridge to 1888 to [M. Colnaghi, London]; Robert H. and Evelyn Benson, London by 1895 and to 1927; [Duveen, New York, sold to Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1957]; donated to MFAH, December 9, 1961.