Self-Portrait with a Friend (Double Portrait)
MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions99 cm × 83 cm (39 in × 33 in)
LocationLouvre, Paris

The Self-Portrait with a Friend (also known as Double Portrait and as Raphael and His Fencing Master[1]) is a painting by Italian High Renaissance painter Raphael. It dates to 1518–1520,[2] and is in the Louvre Museum of Paris, France. Whether the figure on the left is actually a self-portrait by Raphael is uncertain,[better source needed] although it was already identified as such in a 16th-century print.[3]


The identity of the man portrayed before Raphael is unknown. Traditionally he was identified as his fencing master, since he holds the hilt of a sword.[4] Modern art historians consider him a close friend,[5] or possibly one of the painter's pupils, perhaps Polidoro da Caravaggio or Giulio Romano.[6][7][8] One possibility is Giovanni Battista Branconio, for whom Raphael had designed, in the Borgo quarter of Rome, the now destroyed Palazzo Branconio. Other people associated with the character include Pietro Aretino, Baldassarre Peruzzi and Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, as well as other painters such as Il Pordenone or Pontormo, but these hypotheses have been refuted by other portraits.

A significant portion of the painting seems to have been executed by one of Raphael's pupils.[9]

The painting was owned by Francis I of France and, in the past, was assigned to other artists, including Sebastiano del Piombo.

See also


  1. ^ Goffen, Rona, Renaissance Rivals: Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, Titian, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002, p. 191.
  2. ^ Thoenes, Christof, Raphael, Taschen, 2005, p. 6.
  3. ^ Roger Jones and Nicholas Penny, Raphael, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1983, p. 171, ISBN 0-300-03061-4
  4. ^ "Raphael stands behind his friend, who appears to be seated; the fencing master points to the viewer, clasping his sword in his other hand...." The British Museum
  5. ^ Jones & Penny, 171
  6. ^ Theodore K. Rabb identifies the figure on the right as Giulio Romano, in "Why is Raphael So Central to Western Art?," TLS, July 6, 2012, reprinted in Why Does Michelangelo Matter?: A Historian's Questions about the Visual Arts, Palo Alto, California: The Society for the Promotion of Science and Scholarship, 2018, p. 216.
  7. ^ Ingrid Rowland writes, "[Tom] Henry and [Paul] Joannides argue that the famous double portrait of Raphael and a younger friend shows Raphael and Giulio Romano, and the identification has much to recommend it, although there are some significant differences between the features of the young man and Titian’s later portrait of a middle-aged, successful Giulio (unless the older Giulio had begun plucking his eyebrows and Titian ignored the shape of his ears). Infrared reflectography reveals that the two figures were once posed almost side by side, but Raphael eventually thought better of it and moved his own figure higher, so that he could clap his friend paternally on the shoulder—another reason to suppose that the friend might be restless, ambitious Giulio." Rowland, Ingrid, "The Gentle Genius," The New York Review of Books, January 10, 2013
  8. ^ Titian's portrait of Giulio Romano
  9. ^ Salmi, Mario; Becherucci, Luisa; Marabottini, Alessandro; Tempesti, Anna Forlani; Marchini, Giuseppe; Becatti, Giovanni; Castagnoli, Ferdinando; Golzio, Vincenzo (1969). The Complete Work of Raphael. New York: Reynal and Co., William Morrow and Company. p. 197.