- Museum number
Portrait of a gentleman, formerly identified as Guillaume de Saulx, Sieur de Tavannes; head and shoulders to left, wearing collarless shirt, chain around neck, wide-brimmed hat and beard. c.1535
Black chalk, with red chalk
- Production date
- 1535 (c.)
Height: 245 millimetres
Width: 191 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- There are related paintings in the Kestner Museum, Hanover (inv. 150) and in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich (inv. WAF 157). The sitter has not yet been identified. He was traditionally thought to be Jean Taxfelden, known in France as Jean de Tavannes. Taxfelden was a German commander of lansquenets who entered the service of François I and became a naturalised Frenchman in 1518. However, according to Zvereva, Taxfelden died in 1520 and cannot be this sitter, who wears a German-style costume dating from around 1535.
Moreau-Nélaton dated the drawing to c. 1540 and suggested that the sitter was Taxfelden's nephew Guillaume de Saulx (c. 1505-1563), baron du Sully. However, Zvereva argues that if this showed Guillaume, he would be identified simply by his title 'Sully'. Dimier suggested a date of c. 1529 and was the first to identify Jean Clouet as the artist. He also proposed that the sitter could be Guillaume's brother Gaspard (1509-1573), seigneur de Tavannes, a title granted to him by François I in honour of his uncle Taxfelden. However, Gaspard had no nephews; moreover, he was only 26 at this date and would have been shown in French costume, rather than German.
Zvereva dates the portrait to c. 1535 on the basis of the costume and suggests that the sitter should be regarded as anonymous until a further plausible candidate is found. She notes that the depiction of the clothes is more detailed than usual in Clouet's work, perhaps reflecting the artist's unfamiliarity with this style of costume.
Further lit: I. Adler, 'Die Clouet: Versuch einer Stilkritik', "Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien", Neue Folge, III, 1929, p. 238, no. 65; P. Mellen, "Jean Clouet", London and New York, 1971, p. 217, no. 88, pl. 111.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1974 July-Dec, BM, Portrait Drawings, no.51
1990 Apr-Aug, BM, Treasures of P&D, (no cat.)
2016-17 Sept-Jan, BM, 'French Portrait Drawings' (no cat)
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number