Gianlorenzo Bernini

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Gianlorenzo Bernini
Portrait of Sisinio Poli
Black, red, and white chalks, on light brown laid paper.
10 5/8 x 8 1/8 (addition 2 7/16 h.) inches (270 x 207 mm; addition 62 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1909.
IV, 174

Inscribed in pen and brown ink on attached sheet, "Eques Laurentius Berninus / Die vigesimo octavo Aprilis 1638 / Delineavit / Effigies Sisinii Poli aetatis Suae / decimo octavo".

Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919), London and Florence; from whom purchased through Galerie Alexandre Imbert, Rome, in 1909 by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), New York (no mark; see Lugt 1509); his son, J. P. Morgan, Jr. (1867-1943), New York.

Collection J. Pierpont Morgan : Drawings by the Old Masters Formed by C. Fairfax Murray. London : Privately printed, 1905-1912, IV, 174, repr.
Denison, Cara D., and Helen B. Mules, with the assistance of Jane V. Shoaf. European Drawings, 1375-1825. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1981, no. 46, repr.
From Leonardo to Pollock: Master drawings from the Morgan Library. New York: Morgan Library, 2006, cat. no. 23, p. 52-53.


Considered one of the most influential Italian artists of the seventeenth century, Bernini excelled as an architect, sculptor, and painter, but he also produced a number of highly finished portrait drawings. An old inscription on a thin strip of wood from the old mount of the drawing, identifies this young man as Sisinio Poli (b. 1620), drawn on 28 April 1638 at the age of eighteen. Little is known about Poli, but the liveliness of this depiction is captivating. Holding what appears to be a broad-brimmed hat against his chest, he is shown with his lips almost parted, as if about to address the viewer. -- Exhibition Label, from “Life Lines: Portrait Drawings from Dürer to Picasso.”

Associated names: 

Murray, Charles Fairfax, 1849-1919, former owner.
Morgan, J. Pierpont (John Pierpont), 1837-1913, former owner.

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