Gallery installation view featuring six paintings in thick gilded gold frames. Each painting is accompanied by an iPad. The center painting is nearly life-size and bracketed on either side by the words Created and Collected.

Bryan Conley / CMOA

Three Stories About the Painting Portrait of a Young Man

is one of seven paintings the Carnegie Museum of Art acquired that were once part of the important Northbrook Collection. The following stories trace part of this painting’s journey from artist’s studio to the walls of CMOA.

Portrait of a young man wearing hat and looking off to the side.
Domenico Puligo (Italian, 1942–1527), Portrait of a Young Man, Early 16th Century. Oil on panel, 20 1/8 x W: 15 1/4 in. (51.12 x 38.74 cm). Bequest of Howard A. Noble.
This animation details changes in ownership of the artwork over time. Three key events are highlighted in the animation and described in the following text. An interactive version of this data visualization was presented as part of the Created, Collected, and Conserved exhibition.

A Moment in History: Florence, ca. 1520

Current Owner
Unknown Northern Italian
Current Location
Northern Italy
Miles Traveled
0 miles
Number of Owners

By the early 16th century, portraiture had become a widely-practiced art form in Florence—where this portrait was painted—and in other parts of Europe. In the quest for social status and worldly immortality, members of the aristocracy and other elite members of society turned increasingly to commissioning portraits of themselves and their families.

That desire for legacy is ironic in the case of the painting, Portrait of a Young Man, since the identities of both the young man and the artist are lost to history. Because the portrait was once in the Medici collection in Florence, the young man has been reported to be a member of that family. But his identity remains unknown. And, based on style and composition, the portrait could be the work of any one of several well-known Florentine artists of this period. Attribution to Domenico Puligo originated with noted American art historian Bernard Berenson.

A Moment in History: Florence, ca. 1807

Current Owner
Jean-Baptiste-Pierre Le Brun
Current Location
Paris, France
Miles Traveled
551 miles
Number of Owners

Scholarly opinions about the age and place of creation of this fine portrait—Renaissance Florence—have not changed in its more than 200-year documented history. However, as with many Old Master paintings, the portrait is unsigned and experts have differed in their opinions about who painted it.

French art dealer Le Brun, who purchased Portrait of a Young Man in Florence around 1807, considered it a work of Raphael. It is with attribution to that Renaissance master that it entered the collection of Sir Thomas Baring a few years later. In the next 150 years, based on stylistic considerations, various art historians considered the portrait to be the work of one of the following Florentine Renaissance artists, in successive order: Pontormo, Andrea del Sarto, and Franciabigio, before assigning it its presently-accepted attribution to Domenico Puligo.

A Moment in History: Pittsburgh, 1964

Current Owner
Carnegie Museum of Art
Current Location
Pittsburgh, USA
Miles Traveled
4595 miles
Number of Owners

Portrait of a Young Man belonged to Mr. Howard Noble of Pittsburgh by 1939. In 1944, it was removed from the parlor of his residence for its first public appearance in Pittsburgh at an exhibition of the Noble collection at CMOA. Mr. Noble and his wife quietly gathered a distinguished collection of 27 old master paintings during their lifetime, which was bequeathed to CMOA in 1964. But, perhaps even more important, was Mr. Noble’s additional bequest to the museum of part of his residuary estate; when distributed in 1965, it amounted to more than $800,000, a substantial sum, especially then, for new acquisitions of old master paintings. It allowed the museum to buy ten works, among them several highlights in this area of the collection.

Digital Wall Labels

Select another painting for more details and to see the animated timeline:

  1. Painting Pieter Cornelisz. van der Morsch, by Frans Hals
  2. Vision of Saint Ildephonsus, by Andrien Ysenbrandt
  3. Hero, Ursula, and Beatrice in Leonato’s Garden, by Reverend Matthew William Peters
  4. Shepherd Boy with Recorder, by Unknown Northern Italian
  5. Landscape with a Natural Arch, by Gaspard Dughet
  6. Portrait of a Young Man, by Deminico Puligo
  7. Ann Franks Day (Lady Ann Fenoulhet), by Sir Joshua Reynolds