Colnaghi Foundation Journal 02 - Page 22



22
Soldani’s attempt to market Filippo Baldinucci’s collection of paintings
Fig. 15 / Antonio Allegri, called
Correggio, The Adoration of
the Child, ca. 1526, oil on
canvas, 81 x 67 cm, Florence,
Galleria degli Uffizi.
Fig. 16 / Rosso Fiorentino,
Virgin and Child with the
Young Saint John the Baptist,
1515, oil on panel, 105 x
82 cm, Frankfurt-am-Main,
Städel Museum.
which is untraced before 1852 (fig. 16). The painting has
been much discussed in the twentieth century, with the
great Anglo-Saxon experts, Shearman and Freedberg
(following illustrious Italian predecessors like Venturi
and Longhi), independently arguing in favour of Rosso’s
authorship; the record of this work in Baldinucci’s
collection helps to corroborate its authenticity. It
was acquired purportedly “from the Gallery of the
Marchesi Gerini in Florence,” via a London dealer
called Farrer in 1852, for the Picture Gallery of the
Städelschen Kunstinstituts in Frankfurt-am-Main.44
Soldani’s attempt to market Filippo Baldinucci’s collection of paintings
Marchese Andrea Gerini (1691-1760), a descendant
of an ancient Florentine family, inherited a notable
private galleria from Carlo Gerini (1616-1673). Deeply
interested in the arts, Andrea was a great protector of
young artists, among them the painter and engraver
Giuseppe Zocchi (1711-1767), whose study-years he
supported, later commissioning a series of drawings
for engravings of the streets and views of Florence in
1744; and of villas and palaces in Tuscany in 1757. He
was a contemporary of the vendor, Francesco Saverio
Baldinucci, and could easily have purchased the Rosso
from him, as well as other pictures that were left on the
latter’s hands by the failure of the English sales-initiative
in 1717.45 The present writer’s research supports this
identification, as examining the family’s history, it
emerges that Francesco Saverio Baldinucci was Gerini’s
lawyer from 1707-1719 and rented a wing of their
palace at the time. The two men had known each other
since childhood, and Andrea Gerini probably followed
with interest the writing and publication in 1725-1730
of the later volumes of what had become by then the
Baldinucci family’s publication on artists.46 He may
therefore have been more than averagely impressed by
the immediate provenance of the painting.
Being a broad-minded and well-educated art-historian,
Filippo also possessed representative, if not “top”
examples of the sixteenth-century Venetian school (23):
“A full-length figure depicting Saint Sebastian Martyr
around 8 palms (236 cm) high by the hand of Titian,
said to be the full-scale modello for the Saint Sebastian
by the said Titian, in the famous panel of Venice.” This
description corresponds well with a painting signed
“Ticianus” of ca. 1530, now in a Private Collection,
whose measurements, allowing for a substantial frame
to support this large canvas, match those of Baldinucci’s
picture (fig. 17).47
Later in the transaction, on 16 March 1719, Soldani
was to admit to Zamboni: “a few days ago I saw a copy
of the picture that he says is by Titian in the house of
Mr Gabbiani, our premier painter, who told me that the
23

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