The artist used egg tempera for the detail in this painting and this was the chosen medium for most Italian artists within the Renaissance. It was only later that oils were used instead, as a direct influence from the North European painters. Botticelli would paint onto wooden panels for these individual portraits so that they could be moved around without any trouble, where as his installed items in religious buildings would require regular maintenance and became somewhat more fragile in the centuries that followed. The artist would be particularly impressive as a portrait painter and liked to capture local Florentine men from time to time, normally selecting the most attractive models that he could find. He also covered women too, with local beauty, Simonetta Vespucci, appearing across several different portraits.
The young man in front of us here wears a simple red cap which allows his long hair to show from underneath. His bushy brown locks cover most of his ears but it styled smartly. He holds a confident glare towards the viewer and his facial features are consistent with the look of a model, with prominent lips and a straight nose. The figure is cut off from just above the waist, so we are unaware of what he wore below that point. His torso is sporting a blue jacket which is pleated vertically. His sleeves are separate additions which raise slightly from around the shoulder. His neckline is brown and blue, with perhaps a white undergarment appearing from below. The young man is positioned in front of a blue sky which appears from behind an open window which is framed by creme coloured architecture. The opening allows light to come across the model's face, even though he actually has his back to it as he faces us from a slightly angled position. There was another painting of the same title, called Portrait of a Young Man with Red Cap (II).
The artist left behind a large selection of artworks by the end of his career and also managed to vary his content across the years in which he worked. Some of the highlights that he produced included the likes of Madonna of the Magnificat, The Mystical Nativity and also Pallas and the Centaur. Botticelli took on some ambitious projects as his reputation grew, and would call upon a number of assistants who would help him out with the less significant parts of these compositions to help free up his time to take on more projects and build his list of interested patrons. The artist was forgotten for several centuries by art historians before being re-imagined fairly recently thanks to some support for his work across the 19th century. In the present day he is rightly regarded as one of the most influential Italian artists of all time and his work has received a fair appraisal for the first time.