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View full screen - View 1 of Lot 1. Portrait of Prince Augusto Chigi, age 21 months.

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

Alessandro Mattia da Farnese

Portrait of Prince Augusto Chigi, age 21 months

Auction Closed

May 20, 03:42 PM GMT


30,000 - 50,000 USD

Lot Details


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

Alessandro Mattia da Farnese

Farnese 1635 - after 1681

Portrait of Prince Augusto Chigi, age 21 months

inscribed and dated on the verso of the original canvas: Aetatis Suae Mense 21/ Lvlii 1664

oil on canvas

canvas: 24 by 20 in.; 61 by 50.8 cm.

framed: 33 by 29 in.; 83.8 by 73.7 cm.

Painted for Agostino Chigi (1634 - 1705) and by descent in the family palace at Ariccia;
With Shepherd Brothers, London, by 1911 (as François Duchatel);
Sulzer Collection, Winterthur, Zurich;
Dr. Ernst, Zurich, by 1929;
With Paul Drey, New York;
Purchased by the San Diego Museum of Art with funds provided by the Helen M. Towele Bequest, 1938.255 (as Francisco de Zurbarán, "Portrait of the Artist's Daughter").

"Aus der Winterausstellung alter Meister bei Shepherd Brothers," in Cicerone 3 (1911), pp. 928-29 (as François Duchatel);

H. Kehrer, "Neues über Francisco de Zurbarán," in Zeitschrift für Bildendekunst 31 (1920), pp. 249-51 (as Francisco de Zurbarán, Portrait of the Artist's Daughter);

A.L. Mayer, "Unbekannte Werke Spanischer Malerei des 17.Jahrhunderts," in Monatschefte fur Kunstwissenschaft 1 (1920), p. 326 (as Zurbarán, Portrait of the Artist's Daughter);

G. Incisa della Rochetta, "Notizie sulla fabbrica della chiesa collegiata di Ariccia, con un'Appendice su Alessandro Mattia da Farnese," in Riviste dell'Instituto nazionale d'archaeologia e stora dell'arte 1 (1929), p. 388 (as Mattia da Farnese, Portrait of Augusto Chigi);

"Attributions erronees," in Cahiers d'Art 4 (1929), p. 424 (as incorrectly attributed to Zurbarán by Kehrer and Mayer);

H. Comstock, "The Connoisseur in America." in The Connoisseur 103 (January 1939), pp. 37-38, reproduced p. 38 (as Zurbarán, Portrait of a Little Girl, Possibly the Artist's Daughter)

"San Diego: Acquisitions by the Museum," in Art News 38 (23 December 1939), p. 13 (as Zurbarán, Portrait of the Artist's Daughter);

N.S. Trivas, "Lesser Known American Art Collections, II. The Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego California," in Apollo 33 (1941), p. 137 (as Zurbarán, Portrait of a Little Girl);

M. Soria, "Zurbarán: Right and Wrong," in Art in America 32 (July 1944), p. 140 (as Mattia da Farnese, Portrait of Augusto Chigi, and all future references);

J. Pope-Hennessy, "Recent Research," in Burlington Magazine 88 (1946), p. 282;

J.G. Andrews, A Catalogue of European Paintings, 1300-1870, San Diego 1947, p. 35, reproduced;

B. Fredericksen and F. Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth Century Italian Paintings in Public Collections, Cambridge 1972, pp. 139, 511;

F. Petrucci, "Alessandro Mattia da Farnese rittratista," in Antologia di Belle Arti, 67 - 70 (2004), p. 42;

J. Marciari, Italian, Spanish, and French Paintings before 1850 in the San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego 2015, pp. 245 - 48, cat. no. 52, reproduced in color p. 246.

London, Shepherd Brothers, Winter Exhibition, 1911 (as François Duchatel);
Hartford, CT, Wadsworth Athenaeum, Portrait Exhibition, 1937 (as Zurbarán).

In the early twentieth century, this charming portrait was attributed to Spanish master Francesco de Zurbarán, and was romantically thought to be a portrait of the artist's young daughter. Giovanni Incisa della Rochetta rediscovered the portraitist Alessandro Mattia da Farnese in 1929, but the San Diego Museum of Art, the new owners of the portrait, did not learn of the correct attribution until the 1940s.

Alessandro Mattia was active in Ariccia and painted portraits of many members of the powerful Chigi family. The sitter of the San Diego portrait, Prince Augusto Chigi, was the firstborn son of Agostino Chigi (1634 -1705), the secular head of the Chigi family and nephew of Pope Alexander VII (Fabio Chigi, 1599 – 1677). Augusto would later marry Maria Eleonora Rospigliosi, niece of Pope Clement IX, and in 1712 he was granted the hereditary title of Marshal of the Roman Catholic Church, a position the Chigi-Albani family still holds today. Here, in 1664, he is not yet two years old and therefore still wears a skirt, as well as a coral necklace and bracelets used as both protective amulets for children and teething toys.