C. del Bravo, "Un'osservazione su indediti seicenteschi," in Antichità Viva, no. 5, 1971, pp. 23, 27, reproduced fig. 8;
M. Gregori, "Nota su Orazio Riminaldi e i suoi rapporti con l'ambiente romano," in Paragone, no. 269, 1972, pp. 53, 65, ft. 81, no. 63, reproduced;
M. Gregori, "A Cross-Section of Florentine Seicento Painting, The Piero Bogongiari Collection," in Apollo, vol. C, no. 151, 1974, pp. 221, 229, ft.16;
C. McCorquodale, Painting in Florence 1600-1700, exhibition catalogue, London 1979, p. 36 under no. 11;
A.M. Petrioli Tofani, "Review of C. Theim, Florentiner Zeichner des Frühbarock, Munich 1977," in Prospettiva, no. 19, 1979, p. 85-86;
G. Cantelli, Repertorio della Pittura Fiorentina del Seicento, Fiesole 1983, p. 57;
S. Bellesi, "Intorno ad alcuni equivoci tra Cesare e Vincenzo Dandini," in Paradigma, no. 10, 1992, pp. 82-84, no. 30, reproduced;
S. Bellesi, Cesare Dandini, Turin 1996, pp. 82-84, no. 30, reproduced;
La Collezione. Dipinti e Sculture. Opere d'Arte della Città di Lugano, Lugano 1998, p. 36, no. 18;
M. Gregori, Storia delle Arti in Toscana. Il Seicento, Florence 2001, p. 69, reproduced;
S. Bellesi, Cesare dandini. Addenda al catalogo dei dipinti, Florence 2007, pp. 11-12, note. 20.
In his 1996 monograph on the artist, Prof. Sandro Bellesi (see Literature) considers this painting to be one of the masterpieces of Dandini's oeuvre. In the elegance and harmony of its design, the vivid expression and swaggering pose of the Saint Michael, his hand resting nonchalantly on the sword, and the rich effects of light and colour, it encapsulates all that the artist seemingly strove to achieve. The head itself exists in numerous other works by the artist and there are two preparatory drawings for it, one in the Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart (see fig. 1), and the other in the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi.1 The head is repeated in a bust-length depiction of Saint Michael in the Bigongiari collection, Florence, in which the protagonist's left hand, grasping a spear, is raised to shoulder height,2 and also in another work, tentatively identified as a Saint George, in an English private collection.3 The head bears striking physiognomical similarites with a Saint John the Evangelist in the Luzzetti collection, Florence,4 and with a Portrait of a boy in a beret in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence.5 Based on such similarites, together with the characteristic and dramatic contrasts of light and dark and the rich coloration and tonality, Bellesi dates this work to the middle of the 1630s, when the artist was at the height of what Baldinucci describes as his '"maniera vaga," an elegant style in which his figures are diligently drawn from nature but then "finita e corretta" with a particular grace and beauty.
Although unusual in Italian seicento easel painting, the octagonal format was one favoured by Dandini and some of his Florentine peers; see, for example, his Portrait of Checca Costa in the Museo Stibbert, Florence, the David with the head of Goliath in a private collection, or the Ganymede in a Florentine private collection.6
1. See Bellesi, under Literature, p. 82, nos. 29a and29b, both reproduced.
2. Ibid., pp. 81-2, no. 29, reproduced.
3. Ibid., pp. 135-6, no. 78, reproduced p. 136.
4. Ibid., pp. 99-100, no. 46a, reproduced p. 100.
5. Inv. no. 1890. Ibid., pp. 79-80, no. 26, reproduced.
6. Ibid., p. 104, no. 48; p. 85, no. 32; p. 138, no. 82, all reproduced.
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