The Portrait of a Young Man with an Apple shows a well-dressed young man (teenager) holding an apple in his right hand.
It is assumed that he is a member of the court of Urbino, most likely he is Francesco Maria I Della Rovere, nephew of the Duke of Urbino – Guidobaldo da Montefeltro and Pope Julius II (Giuliano della Rovere).
Having no children of his own, Duke Guidobaldo in 1504 called Francesco at his court and promotes him as his successor with the blessing of the pope himself. After Guidobaldo’s death in 1508, Francesco became Duke of Urbino and married Eleonora Gonzaga the same year. He is known throughout history as the commander-in-chief of the Papal States in the wars with Ferrara and Venice.
This depiction of the young man reminds us of Paris who in mythology has to offer the apple to the most beautiful of the three goddesses, and given that three years later Francesco will get married, Raffaello alludes to some sort of match where the apple should be offered to the future bride.
Raffaello made this beautiful work of art (oil on canvas) at the age of twenty-two, in 1505, during his stay in Florence.
The Portrait of a Young Man with an Apple is exhibited at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and is associated with the period when he painted “St. Michael ” and “St. George and the Dragon”.
The making of this portrait is strongly influenced by Flemish art, such as the landscape in the background, the clear display of details, the tonality of colors, but he also drew inspiration from his late father.