Study for Cardinal Niccolò Albergati

Study for Cardinal Niccolò Albergati is a silverpoint drawing attributed to the Early Netherlandish painter Jan van Eyck, made in preparation for his Portrait of Cardinal Niccolò Albergati of 1431. Niccolò Albergati was traditionally identified as the subject of the drawing and portrait, but modern scholarship suggests that Henry Beaufort is more likely the subject.[1][2] The drawing is held in the collection of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen in Dresden.

c 1431, Jan van Eyck

The preparatory study shows an elderly cleric who is visibly ageing and imprinted with deep lines below his eyes. He is shown in near full frontal profile, dressed in the red robe of a cardinal, with a gown lined with luxurious fur.[3]

The drawing, along with the Saint Barbara in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp and Crucifixion in the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen are the only surviving drawings by van Eyck.[4] The work is especially valuable to art historians as it includes notes made to indicate the colours intended for the final oil portrait.


  1. ^ Vale, Malcolm (April 1990). "Cardinal Henry Beaufort and the 'Albergati' Portrait". The English Historical Review. 105 (415): 337–354. doi:10.1093/ehr/CV.CCCCXV.337. JSTOR 570845. Retrieved 13 July 2023.
  2. ^ Harriss, G. L. (2004). "Beaufort, Henry [called the Cardinal of England]". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/1859. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ Harbison, 42
  4. ^ "Concerning a drawing at the exhibition The Road to van Eyck". Flemish Art Collection. Retrieved 13 June 2024