Lot 280A
  • 280A

Zanobi Rosi

50,000 - 70,000 USD
62,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Zanobi Rosi
  • Vision of the Centurion Cornelius
  • oil on canvas


Anonymous sale, New York, Sotheby's, 17 January 1986, lot 72 (as by Lorenzo Lippi) for $15,000;
Where purchased by the present collector.


M. Chappell, "Some Works by Lorenzo Lippi," in Southeastern College Art Conference Review, vol. XI, number 1, Spring 1986, pp. 4-6, reproduced, p. 4, fig. 1 (as Lorenzo Lippi).

Catalogue Note

In a private collection since it was purchased in 1986 as the work of Lorenzo Lippi (see Provenance), this large and impressive canvas of the Vision of the Centurion Cornelius is in fact an important addition to the corpus of the rare Florentine painter Zanobi Rosi.1   Baldinucci noted that he was a pupil of Cristofano Allori, with whom he was a frequent collaborator and some of whose works he finished after his master’s death.2  Indeed, his most famous painting, Michelangelo with Poetry, was painted for the Casa Buonarroti and is based on a drawing by Allori. Further, Madonna and Child in Glory in the Duomo, Pisa is also a joint work of the two artists.  The painting by Zanobi that comes closest in style to the present canvas is a Christ and Saint Peter on the Water for the Usimbardi chapel in Santa Trinità, Florence (see fig. 1), which Baldinucci notes Allori “aveva fatto tutti gli studi, e condotta la testa con forse la figura di San Pietro, e condotte altresì a buon segni l’altre parte, la qual talvolta fu poi finite da Zanobi Rosi.”3  Although apparently the head of Saint Peter in the Usimbardi canvas was finished by Allori, it is almost identical to that of Cornelius in the present work, and suggests that it might have been based on the same model or yet again on Allori’s design.  Interestingly, Miles Chappell, although following Longhi’s suggestion and attributing the canvas to Lippi (see literature and footnote 1), was able to connect three sheets of drawings to the painting, including that for the figure of Cornelius (Gabinetto di Disegni, Florence, inv. 7932).  That drawing shows the figure in different dress, with the head of what is clearly a young man (probably a garzone in the studio), and is also intriguingly inscribed Christofano Allori f. on the verso.  Another drawing of the whole figure but with a bearded head, again traditionally attributed to Allori, is in the Gabinetto delle Stampe, Rome (inv. F.C. 128730), along with a further sketch for the bearded head of Cornelius again in Florence (inv. 7919 F).

We are grateful to Francesca Baldassari for attributing the present work to Rosi on the basis of photographs and for pointing out Miles Chappell's article.

1  At the time of the 1986 sale, the painting was sold with a photocopy of a letter from Roberto Longhi dated 29 June 1952, attributing it to Lippi.

2 See F. Baldinucci, Notizie de’ professori del disegno da Cimabue in qua, F. Ranalli ed., Florence 1845-7, vol. III, p. 732.

3 trans: "he had done all studies, and conduct the head with perhaps the figure of St. Peter, and also conducted a good sign the other hand, sometimes what was then finished by Zanobi Rosi."