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Pierpont Morgan's Study

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Frank Holl
(British, 1845–1888)
Portrait of Pierpont Morgan, 1888
Oil on canvas
49 3/16 x 39 5/16 inches (1248 x 997 mm)
Framed: 50 1/8 x 40 1/8 inches (1273 x 1019 mm)
Commissioned by Pierpont Morgan, 1888; AZ065

Already one of the world's most prominent bankers, Pierpont Morgan was fifty-one years old when he sat for this portrait. Holl downplayed Morgan's skin condition, called rhinophyma, which reddened and inflamed his nose. The banker was so fond of the work he gave photographs of it to friends.

Leone Leoni
(Italian, 1509–1590) or
Annibale Fontana (Italian, 1540–1587)
Bust of Alfonso d'Avalos (1502–1546), ca. 1560–80
Base: 8 x 10 inches (203 x 254 mm)
Bust: 27 1/2 x 24 1/4 inches (699 x 615 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1907; AZ129

Alfonso d'Avalos, the marquis del Vasto, wielded considerable power as the governor of Milan and commander of imperial forces in Italy under the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. This portrait bust may be the work of Leoni, who held the post of engraver at the Milan mint, or of the younger sculptor Annibale Fontana, based on a funerary mask of d'Avalos molded by Leoni in 1546.

Hans Memling
(Flemish, 1433/40–1494)
Portrait of a Man with a Pink, ca. 1475
Tempera on panel
10 3/4 x 15 inches (273 x 381 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1907; AZ073

This is one of the finest paintings in the Morgan collection. The sitter may have been a member of the Italian merchant colony in Bruges, where Memling was the leading painter. The pink, or carnation, in the young man's hand is likely a symbol of betrothal, suggesting that the painting may be one of a pair of wedding portraits.

Hans Memling (1430/40–1494)
Old Woman at Prayer with St. Anne (left); Young Man at Prayer with St. William of Maleval (right)
Flanders, ca. 1470
Tempera on panel
Each panel: 32 7/8 x 10 5/8 in. (835 x 270 mm); framed: 36 5/8 x 14 3/8 in. (930 x 365 mm)
The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1907; AZ012.1-2
See CORSAIR catalog record for this item

Among Memling's finest early works in this country, these two panels once formed the wings of a triptych. They depict relatives, along with their patron saints, of Jan Crabbe, the fifteenth-century abbot who commissioned the altarpiece. At left, St. Anne stands behind an older, kneeling woman, who is probably Crabbe's mother, Anna. At right, St. William of Maleval appears in armor behind a young man, probably the abbot's brother or nephew.

Plate with Profile Bust of a Woman
Italy (Deruta), 1519
Majolica, with beige, copper, gold, and blue glazes
Diameter: 9 1/2 inches (240 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1906; AZ020

Produced in large numbers during the first half of the sixteenth century, majolica plates and shallow basins with profile busts of women were probably presented as betrothal or wedding gifts. This plate, dated 1519 on the back, is related to basins produced in Deruta, one of the major Italian centers of majolica production during the Renaissance.

Antonio Rossellino
(Italian, Settignano 1427/28–1479 Florence)
Madonna and Child with Cherubim, ca. 1460-75
Marble bas-relief
Unframed: 31 1/2 x 22 1/8 inches (800 x 562 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1913; AZ069

Rossellino executed this work in "flattened relief," a technique he adopted as his specialty. The composition suggests that he looked at paintings as well as three-dimensional sculpture in creating a play of light and shade in the subtly carved surface of the relief.

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Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.