Colnaghi Foundation Journal 02 - Page 16

Soldani’s attempt to market Filippo Baldinucci’s collection of paintings
Soldani’s attempt to market Filippo Baldinucci’s collection of paintings
This is clearly identifiable from Baldinucci’s Notizie as
“a nice portrait in oils of an old man” in the author’s
who was a very pleasant personality and
one of our domestics, who – on a label that
he is holding in his hands – has written
down the following verses:
Son l’Esopo Toscano,
E più del Frigio arguto,
Onde mi fece muto,
Perch’io nol motteggiassi, il Volterrano.
(I am the Tuscan Aesop,
Quicker-witted than the Phrygian,
So I am keeping quiet,
In order not to mock Il Volterrano)22
This rhyme, with its “in-jokes”, climaxes significantly in
the painter’s name, forming a kind of signature. This
may have been the first out of a lot of three “life-size
heads, one with shoulders and the other two just down to
the neck” by Volterrano, with their subjects unspecified,
on the first page of the list (9-11).23
Fig. 7 / Volterrano, A Servant
of Baldinucci, Nick-Named
The Aesop of Tuscany, 16751680, oil on canvas, 49.5 x
37.5 cm, Private Collection.
Fig. 8 / Andrea del Sarto,
Self-Portrait, 1528, painted
in fresco or oil on terracotta,
47 x 34 cm, Florence,
Galleria degli Autoritratti,
Uffizi Gallery.
Baldinucci’s collection also included several
distinguished portraits of artists, reflecting his patron
Cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici’s fascination with such
imagery. Most important is the Self-Portrait by Andrea
del Sarto (1486-1530), which is described as painted
on paper and then glued down on to a wooden panel.
This work must have been a copy of the self-portrait
that the artist is known to have painted in fresco or
oil on a terracotta tile which, in 1610, was placed
on display in the Tribuna; in the second half of the
seventeenth century it was added to the collection
of Cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici and remains in the
Uffizi (fig. 8).24 The painting is listed (34) as “life-size,”
which corresponds well with the Uffizi picture’s actual
dimensions of 49 x 36 cm. Given the importance of the
original and its inclusion in Florence’s most prestigious
collection, it would not be surprising if Baldinucci
had commissioned a copy for his own collection.
The original image formed the model for the artist’s
woodcut portrait in Vasari’s Lives, where the author
devotes a charming domestic anecdote to it:
... having finished the portrait of a
clerk of the monks of Vallombrosa …
there remained some colours and some
lime, so Andrea, picking up a tile, called
Lucrezia his wife and said, “come here,
because there is some colour left over
and I would like to make a picture of you
to show how well preserved you are for
your age, even though your appearance
has changed and you look different from
my first portraits of you.” But his wife
refused, perhaps because she thought
otherwise, and stood still. Andrea, almost
as though he guessed that his own end
was approaching, took a mirror and
portrayed himself on this tile so well that
he appeared alive and very natural. This
portrait is with Madonna Lucrezia his
wife, who is still alive.25


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