Peter Paul Rubens

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Peter Paul Rubens
1577-1640
Profile Head of an Old Man (Niccolò da Uzzano)
ca. 1600-1608
Red chalk, with wet brush, over oil paint, with traces of white chalk, on laid paper.
8 13/16 x 6 5/16 inches (224 x 160 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1909.
I, 234
Inscription: 

Inscribed at lower left, by the artist, in red chalk, "Nicolo da Uzzano". Numbered on verso, in graphite, "173".

Provenance: 
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.
Bibliography: 

Tuinen, Ilona van. Power and Grace : Drawings by Rubens, Van Dyck, and Jordaens. New York : Morgan Library & Museum, 2018, no. 2 (repr.)
Collection J. Pierpont Morgan : Drawings by the Old Masters Formed by C. Fairfax Murray. London : Privately printed, 1905-1912, I, 234.
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. 138-139, no. 297, repr.

Notes: 

Watermark: none.
During his Roman sojourn between 1600 and 1608, Rubens copied modern Italian and antique art; he also bought Italian drawings that he then retouched. If this striking red chalk bust of a man in profile is, as is sometimes suggested, an example of a retouched drawing, the original is well concealed under the dark red chalk and oil paint delineating the man's features, wrinkles, and veins. Rubens believed that art should always reflect a union between artistic tradition and fresh observation from nature. In his inscription, the artist identified the subject as the great fifteenth-century Florentine statesman and patron of the arts Niccolò da Uzzano, although the source of his information--and of this portrait--remains unidentified. -- Exhibition Label, from "Power and Grace: Drawings by Rubens, Van Dyck, and Jordaens"

Associated names: 

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

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