Closely based on Sarto's portrait drawing of Lucrezia del Fede in the Uffizi, J. Shearman, Andrea del Sarto, Oxford, 1965, I, p. 348, II, pl. 98a. The Uffizi drawing, which shows the artist's wife, probably dates from the 1520s, is possibly related to a portrait in Berlin, only known through a fragment, Shearman, op. cit., pl. 97b.
Like his teacher Pontormo, Naldini favoured red chalk as a medium; and like other artists from his generation, such as Poppi (see lot 13), Allori or Naldini showed great interest in the works of Andrea del Sarto. Several copies by Naldini after Sarto testify to the strong revival of interest in the artist in the third quarter of the 16th Century, such as drawings in Christ Church, J. Byam Shaw, Drawings by Old Masters at Christ Church, Oxford, 1976, no. 201 verso, and in the Uffizi (inv. 1759 F). Another copy after Sarto is in the Louvre (inv. 1677), where it is still given to Sarto. Naldini made similar copies after drawings by Pontormo; characteristic examples are in the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge (inv. 1932.143), in the Uffizi (inv. 300 F), and in the William Hayes Ackland Memorial Art Center, Chapel Hill.
Naldini's interest in Sarto was also a sign of a certain unease that developed among the younger generation with the established maniera of artists such as Vasari, who had dominated the artistic scene in Florence and Rome since the mid 1540s. By going back to the masters of the Florentine High Renaissance, the younger artists were hoping to find a new basis for their art. Many references to the High Renaissance masters can be found in the works of Naldini, Poppi, and their fellow artists.
We are grateful to Professor Janet Cox-Rearick for confirming the attribution to Naldini and providing us with information regarding this drawing.