Lot 187
  • 187

BERNARDINO CAMPI | Portrait of a lady, said to be Ippolita Gonzaga (1535 - 1563) three-quarter length, circa 1553-4

120,000 - 180,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Bernardino Campi
  • Portrait of a lady, said to be Ippolita Gonzaga (1535 - 1563) three-quarter length, circa 1553-4
  • oil on canvas
  • 45 1/2  by 35 1/2  in.; 115.6 by 90.2 cm.


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 is nicely presented and can be hung in its current state. The canvas has a thin old lining. The paint layer is nicely preserved. There is a slightly yellowed varnish to the surface now, but it is not unattractive and there is no reason to clean the work at this time. Close examination reveals a few isolated spots of retouching in the face, neck and both hands. There are hardly any retouches of any note in the clothing and the background. There are restorations around the edges addressing frame abrasion and what appears to be a change in the size of the stretcher at some point. The condition is very good.
"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

The aristocratic young subject of Campi’s portrait wears a luxurious velvet dress with gold embroidery and a braided hairstyle, both of which were fashionable at the Spanish Milanese court of the 1550s. The present painting likely depicts Ippolita Gonzaga (1535–1563), daughter of Ferrante I Gonzaga (1507-1557), viceroy of Sicily from 1535 to 1546 and governor of Milan from 1546 to 1554, and his wife Isabella di Capua, Princess of Molfetta (1510-1559). Campi seems to have been familiar with this branch of the Gonzaga; first Isabella and later Ippolita herself commissioned Campi to paint Ippolita in 1549 and 1553, corresponding with the dates of her two marriages.1 Although few portraits by Cremona painter Bernardino Campi can be securely dated, Marco Tanzi has convincingly argued that this rare depiction of a female sitter can be dated to 1553-4, due to Ippolita’s age, fashion, and extant documentary evidence. Furthermore, the portrait shares a stylistic affinity with Campi’s portraits from the 1550s and 1560s, such as the courtly three-quarter pose and Titianesque treatment of the face.2

We are grateful to Marco Tanzi for proposing the attribution and identification of the sitter as well as for assistance with the cataloging of this lot.


1. A. Lamo, Discorso intorno alla scoltura, e pittura, dove ragiona della vita, ed opere in molti luoghi, ed a diversi principi, e personaggi fatte dall’eccellentissimo, e nobile pittore M. Bernardino campo, Cremona 1584.

2. See for example Portrait of a Gentleman with a Dog, sold New York, Sotheby’s, 11 January 1990, lot 32, as “attributed to Bernardino Campi” and dated by Tanzi to the 1550s.