In Primarosa's entry for the present portrait (see Literature), he suggests the sitter depicted here may be Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588-1657), the celebrated Italian scholar and patron of the arts, who was a great admirer of Ottavio Leoni's work. This hypothesis is strengthened by comparing the sitter's likeness with a print of Cassiano, executed by Pietro Anichini and Jan van de Hoecke.4 Our portrait does appear to share certain similarities with the printed portrait, most notably in terms of the hair, moustache and beard.
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 (see Provenance).
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. Primarosa, op.cit., p. 590, fig. 552.1
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