Baglione's biography of the artist emphasises the total faithfulness of these portraits, done from life, and as John Spike noted, 'he drew popes and children alike', regardless of any social differences or status, with great spontaneity, 'at rest during a moment in their daily rounds'.4 Spike has described how these drawings must have remained in the artist's possession, explaining how some four hundred drawings, executed over a fifteen-year span, could have acquired a single sequence of numbers.5 It seems that on 9 October 1630, shortly after Ottavio's sudden death, all the drawings that he left to his son, Ippolito, and all the paintings left to his wife, were sold to Cardinal Scipione Borghese.6
The present portrait and the gentleman portrayed in lot 28 are both exciting new additions to the corpus of previously identified sitters.
1. G. Baglione, Le vite de' pittori, scultori, architetti ed intagliatori, dal ponteficato di Gregorio XIII dal 1572, fino a'tempi di Papa Urbano VIII nel 1642, Rome 1642, p. 321
2. Ibid, pp. 321-322
3. C.R. Robbin, 'Scipione Borghese's acquisition of paintings and drawings by Ottavio Leoni', The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 138, July 1996, pp. 453-454
4. J.T. Spike, Baroque Portraiture in Italy: Works from North American Collections, Sarasota 1985, p. 18
5. Ibid, p. 14
6. Robbin, op. cit., p. 458, under Appendix, III
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