Lot 151
  • 151

Jacopo Zucchi

80,000 - 120,000 USD
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • Jacopo Zucchi
  • Portrait of a young lady in an embroidered dress and pearls, three-quarter length, her hand resting on a small book on a table
  • oil on canvas


Thomas Jeffersen Bryan (1802-1870), New York;
By whom bequeathed to the New York Historical Society, in 1867 (acc. no. 1867.51);
Their sale, ("The Property of the New York Historical Society"), New York, Sotheby's, 12 January 1995, lot 54 (as Florentine School, circa 1575);
There acquired by the present collector.


Catalogue of the Bryan Gallery of Christian Art from the Earliest Masters to the Present Time, New York 1853, p. 5, cat. no. 45 (as Bronzino);
R. Grant White, Companion to the Bryan of Gallery of Christian Art, New York 1853, pp. 35-36, cat. no. 45 (as Bronzino);
L. Einstein and F. Monrod, "Le Musée de la Societé Historique de New York," in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, May 1905, p. 418 (as Circle of Bronzino);
Catalogue of the Museum and Gallery of the New York Historical Society, New York 1915, p. 65, cat. no. B51, (as Bronzino);
C. P. Murphy, Lavinia Fontana; A Painter and her Patrons in Sixteenth-century Bologna, New Haven-London 2003, pp. 114-115, reproduced fig.99 (with a date in the 1590s).


The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.This work has not been recently restored. The canvas has a wax lining. The lining combined with the very heavy varnish has created a rather smooth surface. However, the paint layer seems to be in good condition, with only very slight thinness to the red embroidery down the center of the dress and to some of the details in the pearls. The red curtain is very well preserved. There are some signs of slight disturbance to the paint layer in the face, but there are no noticeable retouches here except for a couple of spots in the top upper lip and on the left side of the cheek on the left. Ideally, the wax lining would be reversed and the work cleaned to remove the heavy varnish, which would bring texture back to the paint layer and allow one to retouch more accurately.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

Though the identity of the woman in this portrait remains unknown, it is clear from her lavish costume and elegant pose that she is a member of the Florentine court.  Sumptuary laws at the time let only married ladies of the nobility to wear more than a single strand of pearls; given the sitter's four strands of opera-length pearls, she is not only married but also quite well-off.  Her elaborate black, yellow, and cream-colored embroidered dress with a delicate lace collar is of extraordinary richness and is certainly Spanish.  The influence of Hispanic style was prevalent at the Medici court in Florence given Cosimo I's wife was Eleonora of Toledo. 

The painting once belonged to the celebrated New York connoisseur, Thomas Jefferson Bryan (1802-1870) and later formed part of the collection of the New York Historical Society (see Provenance).  Bryan opened the Bryan Gallery of Christian Art in 1852, comprising his collection of some 500 paintings, including works attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, Giotto, Titian and Mantegna.  Much of the collection was transferred to the New York Historical Society in 1867 and the present work was among those eventually bequeathed to the institution upon Bryan’s death in 1870.

We are grateful to Carlo Falciani for proposing, based on photographs, the attribution to Jacopo Zucchi, who studied under Giorgio Vasari and later worked for Cardinal Ferdinando de' Medici at his Palazzo Firenze.