Colnaghi Collections_Vol 01 - Page 135

Fig. 18.1 Ottavio Leoni,
Portrait of Cardinal Scipione
Borghese, oil on canvas,
110 x 84 cm, Ajaccio,
Musée Fesch.
artist’s career, for example Portrait of the Princess Lucrezia Tomacelli
Colonna in the Colonna collection in Rome, and the so-called Lady
with Scorpions (Donna Vittoria degli Annibaldi della Molara) in a
private collection. Evidence of Leoni’s working methods survives
in the large number of refined portrait studies of female sitters,
in which the artist’s primary concern was capturing a likeness.
These drawings testify to the extent of the artist’s work in this
genre and his popularity a portraitist (fig. 18.2).3
Within Ottavio Leoni’s complex chronology, it can be suggested
that this notable female portrait, which can be considered one
of the artist’s best resolved works in this genre, was painted at
the start of the 1620s. A more precise dating might be possible
with an exact identification of the sitter who, as noted above,
is undoubtedly one of the female members of a leading Roman
dynasty such as the Colonna or the Orsini.
Recently this portrait has also been given to Ottavio Leoni by
Yuri Primarosa and included in her recent catalogue of the
artist’s work.
G ianni P api
Fig. 18.2 Ottavio Leoni, Portrait of a Woman, black and white pen on vellum,
20.8 x 14.6 cm, Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen.
Lattuada, “New Documents and Some Remarks,” pp. 79-81.
Piera Giovanna Tordella, Ottavio Leoni e la ritrattistica a disegno protobarocca (Florence:
Leo S. Olschki, 2011); and now Primarosa, Ottavio Leoni.
See Francesco Solinas, ed., Les Portraits de Berlin (Rome: De Luca Editori d’Arte,
2013), p. 184, no. 49


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