Portrait of a Sculptor


Colección particular

Type of object



The problem of identification surrounds this portrait, usually identified as the famous sculptor Pompeo Leoni, the major sculptor at the court of Philip II, the son of Leone Leoni, who had been employed in a similar capacity by Philip's father, Charles V. A serious objection to this identification is the fact that the marble bust of Philip II included in the painting is significantly different from those attributable to Leoni.

The sitter is depicted as a practitioner of a liberal art. He is elegantly and modestly dressed in black. His dark, penetrating eyes and high brow imply his intellectual capacity. The hammer is poised to suggest his mental deliberation. El Greco has ingeniously applied the conventional formula of the self-portrait, in which the artist turns to face the viewer while working at the easel. Wittily, the viewer can imagine the sculptor looking at the sitter (Philip II) posing for his bust portrait.

The portrait was surely known by Velázquez, whose 1635 portrait of the great Seville sculptor Juan Martínez Montañés seems to reflect it.




Other titles / names

  • Portrait of Pompeio Leoni ?



Antes en Nueva York, colección Rosenberg y Stiebel