Netherlandish School

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Netherlandish School
16th century
Profile Portraits of Roberto Gualterotti and Giuliano del Tovaglia
Silverpoint with red chalk on laid paper prepared with gray-white ground.
5 x 7 1/16 inches (127 x 180 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1909.
I, 263

Watermark: none.
This drawing and the Head of a Papal Guard at the Morgan (inv. I, 261) were part of a series of seven silverpoint drawings that were together until the late nineteenth century. The old Italian inscriptions identify the sitters as members of prominent Italian banking families that had ties with the Low Countries. Memling and his contemporaries had established a taste among Italians for portraits by Northern artists, and it is possible that the sitters sought a Netherlandish artist to draw their portraits when they were visiting the north. These freely drawn portraits were probably made from life. -- Exhibition Label, from "Hans Memling: Portraiture, Piety, and a Reunited Altarpiece"
The sitter at right is probably Giuliano del Tovaglia (1507-1559), born in Florence 16 November 1507. He was executed in 1559 for having conspired to defraud Cosimo I's government of 40,000 ducats. (See Carol Bresnahan Menning, "Finance and Fraud During the Reign of Cosimo I: The Case of Giuliano del Tovaglia," The Historian 51 (1988): 1-18.) The son of his second cousin Catharina del Tovaglia moved to Antwerp around 1550 and married a Dutch noblelady in Middelburg/Zeeland in 1552; it is possible that Giuliano travelled to the Netherlands for the wedding at that this portrait was made at that time.


Inscribed illegibly between drawn lines dividing the portraits, in silverpoint, possibly reading, "ehe Lana qual paso(?)chio no ..."; at lower edge below left portrait, in an early hand (16th century?), in brown ink, "Roberto Ghualterotti ..."; below right portrait, "Giuliano del Tovaglia".

George Skene of Skene; his sale, Sotheby's, 28 April 1898, lot 119 (Italian master of the 16th century. "Busts in profile of two men, silver-point"; to Colnaghi for £6.0.0); Edward Habich (no mark; see Lugt 862); his sale, Stuttgart, Gutekunst, 27-28 April 1899, lot 16, repr. (Italian master of the first rank; to Gutekunst for DM240); 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.
Associated names: 

Beham, Barthel, 1502-1540, School of, Formerly attributed to.
Skene, George, former owner.
Habich, Edward, 1818-1901, former owner.
Murray, Charles Fairfax, 1849-1919, former owner.
Morgan, J. Pierpont (John Pierpont), 1837-1913, former owner.


Stampfle, Felice, with the assistance of Ruth S. Kraemer and Jane Shoaf Turner. Netherlandish Drawings of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries and Flemish Drawings of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries in the Pierpont Morgan Library. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1991, p. 10, no. 14, repr.
Collection J. Pierpont Morgan : drawings by the old masters formed by C. Fairfax Murray. London : Privately printed, 1905-1912, I, 263, repr. (ascribed to Barthel Beham)

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