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Bernardino Licinio

Portrait of an elegant young man, half length, holding gloves

Property Sold to Benefit the Acquisition Fund of the San Diego Museum of Art

Bernardino Licinio

Bernardino Licinio

Portrait of an elegant young man, half length, holding gloves

Portrait of an elegant young man, half length, holding gloves

Property Sold to Benefit the Acquisition Fund of the San Diego Museum of Art

Bernardino Licinio

Poscante circa 1490 - circa 1565

Portrait of an elegant young man, half length, holding gloves

oil on canvas

canvas: 30 ½ by 23 ½ in.; 77.5 by 59.7 cm.  

framed: 41 ¼ by 34 ⅛ in.; 104.8 by 86.7 cm.  

The original canvas has been tightly relined and it is stable on its stretcher. The original tacking edges were trimmed in the relining process. The painting presents a strong image overall. The varnish is dirty and yellowed, beneath which there has been an old campaign of restoration that has somewhat discolored and is visible to the naked eye. Some of the painted surface has been thinned with age, past cleanings, and restorations. There are some losses at the extreme edges, probably from frame abrasion, largely concentrated at the center of the upper edge. To the naked eye, some old lines of restoration are visible throughout, primarily concentrated in and around the sitter's head, upper chest and in the upper background. Some of these lines of restoration are horizontal and may have occurred during the old relining. Inspection under UV further reveals the scattered lines and strokes of restoration throughout, including some thinner lines near the lower register of the canvas. Offered in a decoratively carved and tooled gilt frame.

The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

Galleria Manfrin, Venice;

Charles Eliot Norton (1827-1908), Cambridge, MA (as Giorgione, according to a note in the archive of the Villa I Tatti);

Thence by descent in the Norton Family until 1934;

From whom acquired by Thomas Agnew, London;

With Jacob M. Heimann, New York, 1948;

From whom acquired by Misses Anne R. and Amy Putnam;

By whom gifted to the Fine Arts Gallery, San Diego, 1948 (inv. no. 1948.6).

P. Edwards, Inventario della Galleria Manfrin, 1794, manuscript, (SPV, ms.1032.18). no. 146 (as by Giorgione);

Inventory “Manfrin conte Pietro morto li 28 agosto 1833,” 1834, manuscript, (ASVe, Conservatoria del resistro e tasse, b. 1581, fasc. 1443), no. 81 (as “Giorgio Barbarelli” [aka Giorgione], valued at 100 Austrian lire);

T. Uwins and W. Woodburn, Inventory and Valuation of Pictures made from the Manfrin Collection at Venice, 1851, manuscript, NG, Manfrin collection mss. A.IV.4 37., no. 77 in Stanza Segnata B (as Giorgione, valued at £200);

B. Berenson, The Venetian Painters of the Renaissance, with an Index to Their Works, New York 1897, p. 111 (as in the collection of Prof. C.E. Norton);

Catalogo dei quadri esistenti nella Galleria Manfrin in Venezia, 1900, no. 79 (as by Giorgione);

B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Venetian School, London 1957, vol. I, p. 98;

The Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego, San Diego 1960, p. 69;

B. Frederickson and F. Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth Century Italian Paintings, Cambridge, MA 1972, pp. 105, 632;

L. Vertova, "Bernardino Licinio," in I Pittori Bergamaschi dal XIII al XIX secolo: Il Cinquecento, vol. I, Bergamo 1975, p. 433, cat. no. 110, reproduced p. 442;

J. Marciari, Italian, Spanish, and French Paintings before 1850 in the San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego 2015, pp. 158-160, cat. no. 30, reproduced;

L. Borean, La Galleria Manfrin a Venezia: L’ultima collezione d’arte della Serenissima, 2019, pp. 97, 109, 129 (where the inventories are transcribed and published).

This portrait of an elegant young man was painted in the first half of the 1520s by Bernardino Licinio, a Bergamese artist primarily active in Lombardy and Venice from the 1520s until at least the 1540s. It is one of his earliest known works, predating by a few years his Portrait of Stefano Nani from 1528 in the National Gallery, London.1  A specialist in portraits and religious works, Licinio came under the strong influence of leading Venetian artists of the period, including Giovanni Bellini, Giorgione and Titian.  While he may have trained in the studio of Bellini, it was the latter two artists who inspired Licinio's portraits, as visible in the present example. Like the early portraits of Giorgione and Titian, Licinio's wealthy sitters were painted in the same powerful half-length and three-quarter length poses, often gazing into the distance and grasping items in their hands.  

Probably at some point during the second half of the eighteenth century, this painting entered into the celebrated Manfrin Gallery, an exceptional collection of more than four hundred pictures with a particular emphasis on paintings from the Veneto, which was mainly formed by Conte Girolamo Manfrin from circa 1748. Manfrin, originally from the Friuli, had made his fortune manufacturing tobacco and in around 1787 he bought the Palazzo Venier (which he renamed Palazzo Manfrin), where he was to house his collection. One of the most celebrated private galleries, it was open to the public and listed in most guidebooks of the day. Manfrin was reputedly the leading Venetian collector of his time and acquired paintings avidly until his death in 1801. 

1. Inv. no. NG1309.