164
164
Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, called Guercino
 PORTRAIT OF GIROLAMO GIRALDI, SEATED, HOLDING A LETTER
Estimate
60,00080,000
LOT SOLD. 75,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
164
Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, called Guercino
 PORTRAIT OF GIROLAMO GIRALDI, SEATED, HOLDING A LETTER
Estimate
60,00080,000
LOT SOLD. 75,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

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Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, called Guercino
CENTO 1591 - 1666 BOLOGNA
 PORTRAIT OF GIROLAMO GIRALDI, SEATED, HOLDING A LETTER
inscribed on the letter: Al Rev:mo Sig:re Sig:r Prov:r Col:mo / il Sig:r Can:co Girol:o Giraldi Vicario / delle Monache di Cento e Pieve / Cento.

and on the reverse of the canvas: Anno Aetatis Suae LIX. Obijt XXI Martij / 1676. Annum LXXX agens


oil on canvas, unlined
39 1/8 by 31 1/4  in.; 99.5 by 79.5 cm.
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Provenance

Canon Girolamo Giraldi, Cento (1596-1676);
Senator Ferdinando Marescalchi, Bologna (1754-1816);
Count Benedict Emmanuel Tyszkiewicz (1801-1866), Raudondvaris, Grand Duchy of Lithuania (per an inscription on the reverse of the now-removed relining canvas);
Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 4 December 2013, lot 166 (as Benedetto Gennari), where acquired. 

Literature

M. Preti Hamard, Ferdinando Marescalchi (1754-1816), un collezionista italiano nella Parigi Napoleonica, Bologna 2005, vol. II, pp. 91-92;
F. Gozzi and J. Kilian eds, Guercino: The Triumph of the Baroque, Masterpieces from Cento, Rome and Polish Collections, exhibition catalogue, Warsaw 2013, pp. 21, 22, reproduced fig. 5.

Catalogue Note

This captivating portrait is an excellent example of Guercino's portraiture from his mature period. Painted in 1655, the same year as his celebrated Self-portrait with an allegory of Faithful Love, in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the portrait shows the 59-year-old Girolamo Giraldi, a notable figure in the religious and cultural milieu of the artist's hometown of Cento. The sitter is known to have borrowed money from the artist, and paid him interest, and one might assume from this informal portrait that their relationship extended to a personal friendship.1 Indeed, the work is not recorded in the artist's meticulous account book, the Libro dei Conti, despite several payments from Giraldi being recorded, suggesting that this was not a formal commission but more likely a gift from the artist to the sitter. This would certainly explain the inclusion of the sitter's light stubble, and the penetrative yet sympathetic approach which frames the excellent quality of the portrait. The subtle contrapposto provides an unexpected dynamism which is echoed in the ripples in the sitter's black garments. 

The painting enjoys a distinguished provenance. The Bolognese Senator Marescalchi was a notable collector and ardent supporter of Napoleon, earning several important political positions, and was depicted in David's Napoleon Crowning Empress Joséphine, today in the Louvre.2 The work subsequently passed in to the collection of the Lithuanian Count Benedict Emmanuel Tyszkiewicz, who is known to have owned other works by Guercino. 

The attribution has been independently endorsed by Dr David Stone and Dottoressa Barbara Ghelfi after inspection of the original.

1. B. Ghelfi, ed., Il libro dei conti del Guercino, Venice 1997, pp. 223-25.
2. The present painting is listed in Marescalchi's inventories of 1813, 1817 and 1824.

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