Colnaghi Foundation Journal 02 - Page 31

Soldani’s attempt to market Filippo Baldinucci’s collection of paintings
Soldani’s attempt to market Filippo Baldinucci’s collection of paintings
The material in this paper was first aired briefly at the
symposium The Collector and Circle Workshop organized by
the Wallace Collection and the Warwick University/
IESA MA in the History and Business of Collecting
and the Collecting and Display Seminar Group, held
on 1-2 July 2014 in the Wallace Collection and the
Institute of Historical Research, London University.
The author thanks Adriana Turpin and Suzanne
Higgott for their invitation to contribute. Being the
first fruits of current research, the identifications
of some of the paintings are tentative: some may
turn out to be copies, as Soldani feared at the time.
One is not discussing the pictures as works of art in
their own right, but the problem – then as now – of
establishing the authenticity of historic works of art to
an ethical standard. I would like to dedicate the present
study to Professor Edward Goldberg of the Medici
Archive Project in Florence, in gratitude for his life’s
work on the period in question and his spontaneous
encouragement to research and publish these
documents (see note 5 below).
Unfortunately Zamboni’s intervening replies to
Soldani are missing at the Florentine end, so that their
content has to be inferred from the tenor and wording
of Soldani’s missives.
They were supposedly by the following artists:
Bassano the Elder, Borgognone, Boschi, Bronzino,
Cigoli, Commodi, Correggio, Dandini, Dolci,
Van Dyck, Giulio Romano, Mantegna, Marinari,
Pagani, Paggi, Parmigianino, Passignano, Rosso
Fiorentino, Del Sarto, Tintoretto, Titian, Veronese
and Volterrano.
Filippo Baldinucci, Notizie de’ professori del disegno da
Cimabue in qua: per le quali si dimostra come, e per chi le bell’
arti di pittura, scultura, e architettura lasciata la rozzezza delle
maniere greca, e gottica, si siano in questi secoli ridotte all’
antica loro perfezione / opera di Filippo Baldinucci fiorentino,
distinta in secoli, e decennali (1681-1688), ed. Ferdinando
Ranalli (Florence: V. Batalli,1846).
Edward Goldberg wrote in a private letter in 1994: “I
have never seen a list of Filippo Baldinucci’s pictures,
published or in manuscript – though I would dearly
love to do so! …I was never aware, however, that he
had very many of them, nor particularly important
ones, since they are seldom mentioned in the Notizie.
And throughout his life (he) consistently pleaded
poverty.” After seeing the list, he kindly responded: “It
is exactly the sort of ‘Florentine insider’s’ collection
that one would expect, and the mixture of portraits
(largely of artists) and religious pictures is predictably
Baldinucci-esque…. We can assume that the
attributions of the Florentine pictures are basically
accurate, that in regard to the Emilian and Venetian
things he at least got the school right, and that the
Brueghel might be anything on earth. The most
consistent group of pictures, and probably the most
easy to trace, are the Dolcis.” He ended: “Though
Baldinucci was an enlightened connoisseur for his
period, I personally would not wish to buy a picture
on his attribution alone.” A prescient remark, for, in
the absence of reliable corroborative authentication,
so it turned out with the abortive attempt to sell them
on his “say so”.
Oxford, Bodleian Library: Ms Rawlinson 132. Since
some of my earlier publications, it has been decided to
adopt the alternative system of page numbering given
on the manuscript and so there will be discrepancies.
See Charles Avery, David Le Marchand (1674-1726):
An Ingenious Man for Carving in Ivory (London: Lund
Humphries, 1996), p. 75, no. 42.
Klaus Lankheit, Florentinische Barockplastik. Die Kunst am
Hofe der Letzten Medici 1670-1743 (Munich: Bruckmann
Verlag, 1962); Susan F. Rosen, The Twilight of the
Medici: Late Baroque Art in Florence, 1670-1743, exh. cat.
(Detroit and Florence: Detroit Institute of Arts and
Palazzo Pitti, 1974); and M. Davis, ed., Kunst des Barock
in der Toskana: Studien zur Kunst unter den letzten Medici,
Italienische Forschungen des Kunsthistorischen Instituts in
Florenz, III, 9 (Munich: Bruckmann, 1976).
Fiorenza Vannel and Giuseppe Toderi, La Medaglia
Barocca in Toscana (Florence: Studio per edizioni scelte,
1987); Charles Avery, “Medals and Bronzes for Milordi:
Soldani, Selvi and the English,” Medal 24 (1994): pp.
10-20; Charles Avery, “Who was Antonio Selvi? – new
Documentary Data on Medal Production in Soldani’s
Workshop,” Medal 26 (1995): pp. 27-41.
The casts of the Venus de’Medici and the Dancing
Faun have been bought by the Reigning Prince of
Liechtenstein, Vaduz/Vienna (see Alexis Kugel,
Les Bronzes du Prince de Liechtenstein; Chefs-d’oeuvre de la
Renaissance et du Baroque, exh. cat. (Paris: Galerie Kugel,
2008), nos. 25-26, and p. 104); the casts of the Wrestling
Boys and the Knife-grinder are with Galerie Kugel, Paris.
Charles Avery, “Lord Burlington and Soldani: the
Anglo-Florentine art trade in the Age of the Grand
Tour”, in Edward T. Corp, ed., Lord Burlington, The
Man and his Politics, Questions of Loyalty, Studies in British
History 48 (Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press Ltd., 1998),
pp. 27-49, figs. 2-15.
Baldinucci, Notizie: for full title, see note 4.
The Florentine palmo that is used is 29.13cm, and in
effect half a braccio.
Franco Faranda, Ludovico Cardi, detto Il Cigoli (Rome:
De Luca, 1986), pp. 180-81, nos. 112-116.
“...possiede pure quegli, che queste cose scrive.”
The Saint Philip Neri is readily distinguished from the
standard rectangular pictures of him (such as the
prime version from San Firenze, Florence, now in a
Private Collection), by conforming to Dolci’s favourite
shape, typical of the Baroque – the oval, however the
only extant version in this shape is now considered
a copy; while Saint Antoninus appears to be unique,
their dimensions are close enough (Neri: 58 x 43;
Antoninus: 64 x 42 cm) that they may be the pair
owned by Baldinucci. Their identification was first
published in 1995 by Francesca Baldassari on the basis
of the present information, which was communicated
to her by the present writer at the time: Francesca
Baldassari, Carlo Dolci (Turin: Artema, 1995), p. 91,
figs. 27w -28w. See also Francesca Baldassari, Carlo
Dolci (Florence: Centro della Efimi, srl, 2015), p. 172,
no. 77, under copies.
They do not appear in Baldassari’s monographs of
1995 or 2015.
Baldinucci, Notizie, V, p. 348: “Ma bella ogni
credere, e senza dubbio, delle più degne che
uscissero del pennello del Docli, è una mezza figura
di grandezza quanto il naturale rappresentante la
Pace, che egli mesdesimo dipinse, ritratto al vivo
Caterina degli Scolari, sua consorte. Sostiene ella
con ambe le mani una striscia di carta, per entro la
quale si leggono le seguenti parole: confregit arcum et
scutum, gladium et bellum, ed in oltre ha nella mano
destra un piccolo ramicello di ulivo. In questa
figura si scorge una certa freschezza di tinte, con
un modo di finire più maestrevole del suo solito;
tanto ché coll’assomigliarsi che ella fa all più
spedita maniera degli ottimi coloritori, non lascia
di farsi conoscere per di sua mano, e di avere in
sé la diligenza, in che egli fu singolare.” See also
Baldassari, Dolci 1995, pp. 132-133, no. 105, and
Baldassari, Dolci 2015, p. 229, no. 123. See Eve
Straussman-Pflanzer, Francesca Baldassari, Edward
L. Goldberg, Lisa Goldenberg Stoppato, and
Scott Nethersole, The Medici’s Painter: Carlo Dolci
and Seventeenth-Century Florence, exh. cat. (Wellesley,
MA and Durham, NC: Davis Museum, Wellesley
College and Nasher Museum of Art, Duke
University, 2017-2018).
See Baldassari, Carlo Dolci 1995, pp. 132-133, or
Baldassari, Dolci 2015, p. 229, gives the provenance
as “by descent until the eighteenth century, until it
was eventually purchased by the 5th Earl Cowper for
Panshanger, Hertfordshire”.
Baldinucci, Notizie, V, p. 177: “Ha similmente di sua
mano due ritratti di pastelli e altri disegni.”
Maria Cecilia Fabbri, Alessandro Grassi and Riccardo
Spinelli, Volterrano, Baldassare Franceschini (1611-1690)
(Florence: Edifir, 2013), pp. 318-319, and p. 374
for the lost pair: after its provenance from Filippo
Baldinucci, the pastel then seems to have come into
the hands of Ignazio Hugford, from whom it was
purchased in 1775 by Pietro Leopoldo of Lorraine for
the Galleria Palatina (Inv. 1890, no. 2758). This allows
for it to be the picture under discussion.
Baldinucci, Notizie, V, p. 177: “e (Baldinucci ha di
sua mano) un bel ritratto a olio d’uomo vecchio, che
fu persona molto piacevole e familiare di sua casa, il
quale, in una cartella che tiene in mano, porta scritti i
seguenti versi (see text)”.
Fabbri, Grassi and Spinelli, Volterrano, pp. 303-304, no. 111.
See most recently Julian Brooks, Andrea del Sarto: The
Renaissance Workshop in Action exh. cat. (Los Angeles
and New York: The Getty Museum and The Frick
Collection, 2015-2016), pp. 153-154, and n.16, p. 157,
for further bibiliogrpahy.
Giorgio Vasari, Le vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori ed
architettori (1550 and 1568) ed. Gaetano Milanesi, V
(Florence: G. C. Sansoni, 1906), pp. 48-49.
In his monograph on Del Sarto, John Shearman, Andrea
del Sarto (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), pp. 274-75,
no. 87, gives its provenance as: “Lucrezia [di Baccio]
del Fede [the painter’s wife since 1518]; subsequently
obscure.” It is not included in Ritratti de’ più celebri
professori di Pittura dipinti di propria mano …(Florence,
1748), but it does appear in Museum Florentinum, 1752
(vii, 68; with a woodcut by Carlo Gregorisi).
This painting was attributed by Baldinucci to Bassano
the Elder but is now sometimes given to Hans von
Aachen (1552-1615).
Baldinucci, Notizie, II, pp. 583-583: “Dico finalmente,
che un ritratto al vivo di Gio. Bologna dipinto per
mano del Bassan Vecchio, testa con busto, fatto
(siccome credesi senz’alcun dubbio) nel tempo, ch’egli
viaggiò in Lombardia, conserve fra le sue più care cose
quegli che scrive”; Michel Florisoone, “Jacopo Bassano
portraitiste de Jean de Bologne et d’Antonio del Ponte,”
Arte Veneta (1956): pp. 107. Rüdiger an der Heiden,
“Die Porträtmalerei des Hans van Aachen,” Jahrbuch
der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien 66 (1970): pp.
135-226; Charles Avery and Anthony Radcliffe, eds.,
Giambologna, Sculptor to the Medici, exh. cat. (London: The
Arts Council of Great Britain, 1978), no. 215.
“Uno (ritratto) del Signor Cavaliere Gian Bologna,
simile (i.e. circa un braccio), con cornice di noce
semplice.” See Gino Corti, “Two Early SeventeenthCentury Inventories Involving Giambologna,” The
Burlington Magazine 118 (1976): pp. 629-634.
Avery and Radcliff, Giambologna, no. 214.
Galleria Palatina, Florence, Appartamenti Reali,
inv. OAP no. 767, see Bernard Aikema in Hans von
Aachen (1552-1615), Court Artist in Europe, ed. Thomas
Fusenig, exh. cat. (Aachen: Suermondt-LudwigMuseum, 2010), p. 133, no. 22.
Aikema in Fusenig, Hans von Aachen, pp. 67-68, fig. 76.
Baldinucci, Notizie, III, pp. 63-64: “Dello stesso anno
1589, trovandosi in Firenze Gio. Battista Paggi celebre
pittore Genovese, che ben conosceva per fama il
nostro artefice, per le belle opere ch’egli avea fatte
in Genova, volle fare a olio il suo ritratto, il quale
condusse con gran franchezza in quadro da teste sopra
legname, come allora usavasi per lo più. Il qual ritratto
dicesi che venisse in potere di Pietro Tacca, stato suo
condiscepolo, ed oggi è posseduto da chi queste cose
scrive. Vedesi il Francavilla in atto di guardare chi
‘l mira, è vestito d’un palandrano, apre colla mano
sinistra un libro, che posa sopra tavola o simile, in
quella faccia di esso libro che torna in piano vedesi
figurata la pianta d’un edificio, e nella faccia, che viene
alzata, sono scritte le seguenti parole: Petrus Francavillus
belgius etat. 42. 1589, e colla mano sinistra tiene un
piccolo modellino d’una statua; sonovi seste, calamaio,
alcune medaglie d’oro, una squadra e un regolo, in cui
si vede scritto: Gio. Batista Paggi; il tutto imitato e colorito
mirabilmente…”. See Robert de Francqueville, Pierre de
Francqueville, sculpteur des Medicis et du Roi Henri IV (Paris:
A et J. Picard, 1968), pp. 53-57; Herbert Keutner,
“Pietro Francavilla in den Jahren 1572 und 1576”,
in Festschrift Ulrich Middeldorf, ed. Antje Kosegarten
(Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co., 1968), pp. 305-306.
Compare Avery and Radcliffe Giambologna, 1978, nos.
Baldinucci, Notizie, IV, p. 302: “perchè io medesimo,
fra altre pitture di mano di segnalati artefici,
conservo un rtiratto di lui, fatto quando egli era in
età di quattordici anni, come mostra l’effigie, che
è di fanciullo, di faccia nè corta, nè lunga, piena
di tenerissime e ben colorite carni, cappelli bassi e
biondicci, fatto per mano dello stesso Lodovico Cigoli
suo maestro.”
A possible analogy is a painting of a Head of a Youth
in Profile Looking Upwards and to the Right, oil on canvas
(45 x 32 cm), sold by Cheffins, Cambridge, 4 March
2015, lot 615: it is attributed to Bilivert himself, partly
on account of an old and seemingly authentic label
glued to the back by former owners, the Arnaldi
family of Florence, who sold it c. 1870. My thanks to
Sarah Flynn of Cheffins for her prompt and gracious
help over this picture. If not an immediate candidate
on account of its being traditionally attributed to
Bilivert and not to his master Cigoli, and because of
its apparent hair-colouring (which could hardly be
described as “biondicci”, unless it has been darkened
by deteriorated later varnish), the picture at least
provides some idea of what Baldinucci’s portrait of
Bilivert by Cigoli might have looked like.
Onorio Marinari, Self-Portrait, 1709, oil on canvas,
72.5 x 58 cm, inv. 1732, Galleria degli Uffizi; see
Luciano Berti, Caterina Caneva, and Alia Ferrari,
eds., Gli Uffizi: catalogo generale (Florence: Centro Di,
1979), p. 927, no. A573.
Pietro Benvenuti, ed., La Reale Galleria di Firenze Illustrata,
12 vols. (Florence: Giuseppe Molini, 1817-1833).
Mantegna, Saint Jerome, ca. 1448-1449, tempera on
wood, 48 x 36 cm, inv. 15.1952, Museo de Arte, São
Paolo. The rough measurement of “two palms” given
in the list is 58 cm, which would allow for a frame of
5 cm, or 2 in, in thickness. See Keith Christiansen in
Andrea Mantegna, ed. J. Martineau, exh. cat. (London
and New York: The Royal Academy and The
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992), pp. 115-117,
no. 3; Giovanni Agosti and Dominique Thiébaut,
Mantegna, 1431-1506, exh. cat. (Paris: Musée du
Louvre, 2008-2009), pp. 72-74, no. 7. Interestingly,
this catalogue identifies the rectangular plate with two
hammers balanced on it (described by Christiansen
only as “A strongly foreshortened wooden plank,
from which hang two wooden mallets”), which hangs
by strings on the wall of the cave, over the saint’s
makeshift desk, as a semantron, the instrument used in
the Orthodox faith to call monks to prayer.
Chris Fischer, Fra Bartolomeo: Master Draughtsman of the
High Renaissance. A Selection from the Rotterdam Albums
and Landscape Drawings from various Collections, exh. cat.
(Boston, Fort Worth, and New York: Museum of
Fine Arts, Kimbell Art Museum, and The Pierpont
Morgan Library, 1990), pp. 210-213, no. 55.
Another version of this subject, but with different
dimensions is now in the Getty Museum, inv.
96.PB.15. This picture has recently been connected
to the a work once in the Salviati collection. See
Charles S. Ellis, “Documentation for Paintings by Fra
Bartolomeo,” Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in
Florenz 54 (2010-2012): pp. 377-386.
For the painting see Serena Padovani, ed., L’età di
Savonarola: fra Bartolomeo e la scuola di San Marco, exh. cat.
(Florence: Pitti and Museo di San Marco, 1996), no. 59.
“Un quadro di palmi Quattro con paese, entrovi una
Vergine in atto di adorare il Bambino Gesu, posto in Terra
sul fieno, di mano del Coreggo, di cui anch’ivi e la stampa.”
Piero Bianconi, Tutta la Pittura di Correggio (Milan:
Rizzoli, 1953), p. 41, plate 80; David Ekserdjian,
Correggio (New Haven and London: Yale University
Press, 1997), pp. 150-154, pl. 168; Lucia Fornari
Schianchi, Correggio, exh. cat. (Parma: Galleria
Nazionale, 2008-2009), pp. 270, 312, no. III.16.
Heinrich Weizsacker, Catalog der Gemälde-Galerie
des Städelschen Kunstinstituts in Frankfurt-am-Main, II,
Die Werke der älteren Meister vom vierzehnten bis zum
achtzehnten Jahrhundert (Frankfurt-am-Main: Broschiert,
1900). See now Roberto Paolo Ciardi and Alberto
Mugnaini, Rosso Fiorentino, Catalogo Completo. I Gigli
dell’Arte, 20 (Florence: Cantini, 1991), pp. 60-61, no.
8; Rudolf Hiller von Gaertringen, Italienische Gemälde
im Städel 1300-1550; Toskana und Umbrien (Mainz am
Rhein: Philipp von Zabren, 2004), pp. 462-468;
Bastian Eclercy, ed., Maniera: Pontormo, Bronzino and
Medici Florence, exh. cat. (Frankfurt am Main: Städel
Museum, 2016), pp. 50-51, no. 5.
This may have been after a list of the paintings in
their house was drawn up “in the early eighteenth
century” in which the Rosso is not to be found,
according to Hiller von Gaertringen, Italienische
Gemälde, p. 464, note 10.
See Martina Ingendaay, I migliori pennelli: i marchesi
Gerini mecenati e collezionisti nella Firenze barocca: il palazzo
e la galleria, 1600-1825, I (Milan: Biblion 2013), pp.
136 and 146.
I am grateful for the help of Professor Paul Joannides
over the various examples of this composition that
might be candidates for the one that Baldinucci owned
(see his entry in San Sebastiano; Belleza e integrità nell’arte
tra Quattrocento e Seicento, ed. Vittorio Sgarbi, exh. cat.
(San Secondo da Pinero: Castello di Miradolo, 2014),
pp. 68-71, no. 13). See also David Rosand, “Titian’s
Saint Sebastians,” Artibus et Historiae 30 (1994): pp.
30-37, figs. 8-10; Paul Joannides, “Titian and the
Extract,” Studi Tizianeschi 4 (2006): pp. 135-148; Peter
Humfrey, Titian: The Complete Paintings (Ghent: Ludion
Press, 2007), p. 127. Joannides has also graciously
shared with the present writer a paper summing up
the status quo concerning the various versions of this
image of Saint Sebastian, among which a couple of
candidates for Baldinucci’s example may lurk.


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