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Čís. položky 75 -


Justus Sustermans


(Antwerp 1597–1681 Florence)
Portrait of Maria Leopoldine von Habsburg-Tirol, Holy Roman Empress (1632–1649),
oil on canvas, 72 x 58 cm, framed

Provenance:
Almost certainly commissioned by the Innsbruck court from Sustermans as an engagement portrait, 1647;
Private collection, England by circa 1870 (according to the stretcher marked ‘J. Spender/ Liner’ – a London based picture restorer who died in 1876);
art market, England;
where acquired by the present owner

We are very grateful to Lisa Goldenberg-Stoppato for suggesting the attribution and for her help in compiling the catalogue note. Her written analysis accompanies the present painting.

This intriguing and previously unknown portrait of the young archduchess, painted by Justus Sustermans, is a significant rediscovery. Sustermans was the court painter of the Medici, the family of the archduchess’s mother Claudia, who married Archduke Leopold V of Habsburg-Tirol.

It has been suggested that this portrait was executed to celebrate the union of two branches of the powerful House of Austria, as such it would have been commissioned as an engagement portrait preceding the marriage of Marie Lepoldine and Emperor Ferdinand III (1608–1657). There are many iconographical hints alluding to this, not least the red and white dress the future Empress is portrayed in, which could be interpreted as alluding to the heraldic colours of the House of Austria.

Lisa Goldenberg-Stoppato concludes: ‘Both the brushwork and the dark priming, which show through the lady’s flesh tones, are quite similar to those used by Sustermans in a half-length portrait of Cosimo III de’ Medici (1642-1723) as a child (see K. Langedijk, The Portraits of the Medici, 15th-18th centuries, Florence 1981, vol. I, pp. 590, no. 19/10, p. 591, fig. 19/10). This portrait can be dated sometime between 1647 and 1650, a date also appropriate stylistically.

The precise date of when Sustermans painted this portrait of Maria Leopoldine is not known, however her apparent age suggests that she sat to him not long before she married Emperor Ferdinand III in July 1648, and the rose she is holding is a clear allusion to bridal status. Sustermans might have travelled to Austria in the entourage of courtiers that accompanied Anna de’ Medici to the court of Innsbruck in 1646, when she married Ferdinand Karl von Habsburg (see ‘Viaggio della Serenissima Principessa Anna di Toscana accompagnata dal Serenissimo Principe Leopoldo suo fratello da Fiorenza in Inspruch per andarsi a sposare con l’Arciduca Carlo Ferdinando d’Austria 1646’, ASFi, Mediceo del Principato 6381, ins. 1).

It is known that during Sustermans’s long career at the Medici court (1621-1681) in Florence, he was sent to paint portraits at other courts on several occasions, it is therefore also possible that he might have made a journey to Innsbruck independently, with the specific purpose of painting a portrait Maria Leopoldine so that she could be presented as a potential bride to the widowed Emperor. The painter might have made this trip in the spring of 1647: on 29 April of the same year a register of the Accademia del Disegno, the guild of Florentine painters and sculptors, informs us that ‘Giusto Suttermanno’, was unable to take on his assigned duty as Consul, because he was ‘impedito in servizio di Sua Altezza Serenissima’, detained in the service of His Most Serene Highness (see ‘In questo libro intitolato Tratte de’ Consoli del Accademia del Disegno nella Città di Firenze si noteranno in avvenire tutti quelli i quali secondo il solito s’estrarranno per le borse di detta Accademia per risedere nel Magistrato e durare per mesi sei […]’, 1622-1694, ASFi, Accademia del Disegno 60, unpaginated).

It is interesting to note that Ferdinand III communicated his desire to marry Maria Leopoldine to her mother Claudia only a few months later, on 13 November 1647 (see copy of a letter from Tramestoff [Maximilian von Trauttmansdorff] to Claudia de’ Medici, from Prague, 13 November 1647, ASFi, Mediceo del Principato 4463, insert 2, unpaginated).

Identification of the sitter:

Following the fashions of the times, the sleeves of the young lady’s red silk dress have been slit open to allow a glimpse of the white silk shirt underneath. The cut of the young lady’s dress, with its pointed waistline and low neckline edged with a strip of the same red fabric, can be compared with the black and white ‘veste vedovile’ worn by Margherita de’ Medici-Farnese in a portrait painted by Sustermans at an unspecified date after she was widowed in 1646 (Justus Sustermans, Margherita de’ Medici as a widow, Galleria Palatina, Florence, inv. 1912, no. 298, oil on canvas, 64 x 50 cm). The bow of black ribbon at the centre of the young lady’s décolleté resembles both the one worn by Margherita in the same portrait, and the bow on the dress of Grand Duchess Vittoria della Rovere, the wife of Ferdinando II de’ Medici, in a portrait in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Chambéry, which dates from the late 1640s or early 1650s.

There is one item of the young lady’s dress, however, that seems rather unusual for the wardrobe of a Florentine or Northern Italian woman of the time: she is wearing a wide, gossamer-thin, almost transparent collar, fastened at the neck by two ribbons, which covers her neck and shoulders entirely and lends a rather chaste note to her outfit. A similar wide, veil-like collar is worn by Anna de’ Medici the widow of archduke Ferdinand Karl of Innsbruck, in a portrait painted in 1666 by Giovanni Maria Morandi (Giovanni Maria Morandi, Anna de’ Medici as a widow, signed and dated 1666, Schloss Ambras, Innsbruck, on loan from the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, inv. no. 3110, oil on canvas, 191 x 128 cm). The unusual accessory can, in fact, be considered a first, significant clue for the identification of the young lady in red. Other clues are provided by the features of the young lady, which show a close resemblance to those of Archduke Ferdinand Karl’s mother, Claudia de’ Medici (1604-1648), the youngest daughter of Grand Duke Ferdinando I, who left Florence in 1626 to marry Leopold von Habsburg. The similarity of the young lady’s features with Claudia’s in a portrait painted at the time of her marriage in 1626 by Justus Sustermans (Galleria Palatina, Florence, 1890 Uffizi, inv. no. 752, oil on canvas, 113 x 86 cm) is striking enough to conclude that the sitter must be one of her daughters. It is possible to exclude her eldest daughter Vittoria, born in 1622 during Claudia’s first, brief marriage to Federigo Ubaldo della Rovere: the young lady in the present composition in red is, in fact, far slimmer than Vittoria, who had become quite plump by the late 1640’s. We can also exclude her second daughter, Maria Eleonore von Habsburg who died in 1629 at the age of two. The sitter must therefore be one of Claudia’s younger daughters, either Isabella Klara (1629-1685) or Maria Leopoldine (1632-1649) von Habsburg.

Since scholars have in many cases confused the features of these last two young archduchesses, the identification of the young lady in red requires a preliminary clarification of the errors made to date concerning the first extant portraits of Isabella Klara (fig. 1) and Maria Leopoldine (fig. 2), which are conserved in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. They were painted between 1643 and 1644, during a visit to Innsbruck of the Florentine painter Lorenzo Lippi, by his assistant Lorenzo Martelli. The sitter in one of these, a full-length portrait of Maria Leopoldine von Habsburg at age eleven in red holding a muff (fig. 2), was correctly identified by Günther Heinz in his 1963 catalogue of the museum’s collection of Habsburg portraits (Lorenzo Martelli, Maria Leopoldine von Habsburg-Tirol with a muff, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, inv. no. 8138, oil on canvas, 220 x 110 cm; see G. Heinz, Studien zur Porträtmalerei an den Höfen österreichischen Erblande, in: Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien, 59, XXIII, 1963, p. 208, no. 147; F. Solinas, Il pittore e l’arciduchessa e Il Malmantile racquistato, in: D. Frescobaldi/F. Solinas, I Frescobaldi. Una famiglia fiorentina, Florence 2004, pp. 138, note 23, fig. 142 [mistakenly as Isabella Klara]; L. Goldenberg Stoppato, Appunti su Lorenzo Lippi in memoria di Chiara, in: F. Falletti/F. Fiorelli Malesci/M. L. Strocchi (eds.), Un metodo per l’antico e per il nuovo. In ricordo di Chiara d’Afflitto, Florence 2011, pp. 87, 93, note 34). As Gudrun Swoboda has pointed out, this portrait is cited in an inventory made in Innsbruck in 1663, when archduke Sigismund Franz decided to transfer a series of paintings from the court palace in Innsbruck to the Castle of Ambras (see Inventärium. Über die Contrafaict und Gemähl, so aus beuelch der Hoch: und Erz: für: d: Sigismundi Francisci, Erzherzogen zu Österreich etc. von Ynnsprugg, in das Erzfürstliche Schloss Ambras, Anno 1663 sind Transferiert worden, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna, Handschriftensammlung, Cod. 8014, fol. 2r, no. 8 or fol. 5r, no. 4). Unfortunately, Heinz failed to recognise the features of Isabella Klara von Habsburg (1629-1685) in the pendant where Martelli portrayed the fourteen-year-old, blond archduchess in a similar red dress, holding a handkerchief. This portrait was catalogued by Heinz as an image of her sister Maria Leopoldine, an error that has been repeated in many subsequent studies. The archduchess’ true identity is established in the 1663 inventory. It describes the painting as a likeness of ‘Abermals ir durchlaucht erzherzogin Clara Isabella, in roter klaidung, ein fazanet in der linggen handt, lebensgross’ (‘literally her serene highness archduchess Clara Isabella in red clothing with a handkerchief in her left hand, life-size’) (see op. cit. Inventärium [...] Schloss Ambras, 1663, fol. 4r, no. 32 (see the transcriptions in G. Swoboda/B. Mersich, Das Ambraser Bilderinventar von 1663, Addenda zu Provenienzen der Gemäldegalerie des Kunsthistorischen Museums, in: Jahrbuch des Kunsthistorischen Museums Wien, 6/7.2004/05, p. 272 [unidentified]; and S. Haag (ed.), Ferdinand Karl. Ein Sonnenkönig in Tirol, exhibition catalogue, Vienna 2009, p. 267, no. 32 [identifying it with canvas no. 8118]).

Further evidence is provided by the half-length copy in the Piccolomini Palace in Pienza, bearing an inscription that identifies the sitter as Isabella Klara (copy after Lorenzo Martelli, Isabella Klara von Habsburg-Tirol, Palazzo Piccolomini, Pienza, oil on canvas, see L. Martini/B. Santi/M. Perugini, Il Palazzo Piccolomini di Pienza. Guida al palazzo e alle sue collezioni, Siena 2006, pp. 33 fig., 36; and op. cit. Goldenberg Stoppato 2011, pp. 91, 93, note 47). Heinz catalogued this painting as an image of Maria Leopoldine and suggested that it was painted roughly a year after her marriage to Emperor Ferdinand III in July 1648, only shortly before she died in childbirth on 18 August 1649 (see op. cit. Heinz, 1963, pp. 153-154, 208, no. 145, figs. 167 and 170; G. Heinz/K. Schütz, Porträtgalerie zur Geschichte Österreichs von 1400 bis 1800, Katalog der Gemäldegalerie, Vienna 1976, ed. 1982, p. 150, no. 124, fig. 164, plate XI). His hypothesis did not take into account the documents which date Lippi’s definitive departure from Austria in the spring of 1644, more than four years before Maria Leopoldine was married. On 8 April 1644 Claudia de’ Medici sent a letter from Innsbruck to her brother Lorenzo in Florence announcing the return of the painters (see Archivio di Stato di Firenze [ASFi], Mediceo del Principato 5163, cited by G. Pieraccini, La Stirpe de’ Medici di Cafaggiolo, Florence 1925, vol. II, pp. 475, 480, note 119 bis; C. D’Afflitto, Lorenzo Lippi, Florence 2002, pp. 107, 366, 371-372, document no. 5): ‘Tornandosene a casa il pittor Lorenzo Lippi, e Lorenzo Martelli suo aiutante […]’ – they arrived in Florence before May 11, 1644, when Lippi was given four hundred scudi owed to him by Claudia from Jacopo Giacomini (see the receipt in Fondazione Piancastelli, Forlì, reproduced in op. cit. Solinas, 2004, p. 152); which lead to the inevitable conclusion that the Empress could not possibly have posed for the painter while she was pregnant. Unfortunately, Heinz’s misidentification of the young pregnant woman has been repeated many times, and the portrait still appears with these false credentials in the museum’s database. The true identity of the pregnant sitter in the pink can be established, once again, by consulting the 1663 inventory of the paintings transferred to Schloss Ambras: the portrait is described in this manuscript as a ‘Mehrmalen ir durchlaucht erzherzogin Clara in pfersichpliefarben claidung, nebent ir/ auf dem tisch ein weis Bolonesisch hindl, lebensgross’ (literally as a portrait of ‘her most serene highness archduchess Clara in a peach colored dress with, on a table, a white Bolognese dog, life-size’, see op. cit. Inventärium [...] Schloss Ambras, 1663, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna, Handschriftensammlung, Cod. 8014, fol. 4v, transcribed in: op. cit. Swoboda/Mersich, 2004/05, p. 273, no. 42 [unidentified]; and in op. cit. Haag, 2009, p. 268, no. 42 [unidentified]).

Further evidence is provided by the striking resemblance between the pregnant sitter’s features and blond hair and those of Isabella Klara in a bust-length portrait painting roughly ten year later that belongs to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, which scholars generally recognise as a portrait of this archduchess (North Italian painter, oil on canvas, 65 x 55 cm, inv. no. 7938, see Heinz, 1963, p. 207; see op. cit. Swoboda/Mersich 2004/05, p. 278, no. and fig. 78; op. cit. Goldenberg Stoppato, 2011, pp. 88, 93 note 43, fig. 3). Unlike her sister, Isabella Klara had the chance to pose for Lippi while she was pregnant: in the spring of 1652, she paid a visit to her step-sister Vittoria della Rovere in Florence in the company of with her husband Carlo II Gonzaga di Nevers, her brothers Ferdinand Karl and Sigismund Franz and her sister-in-law Anna de’ Medici. The 1652 visit of Isabella Klara and her husband is mentioned in two court diaries. Isabella Klara was pregnant at the time of her visit, since she gave birth to her son Ferdinando Carlo on 31 August of the same year. Now that the mistakes made in the past have been rectified, it is easy to establish the identity of this daughter of Claudia de’ Medici. Since the likenesses of Isabella Klara cited above all portray her with blond hair, this darker-haired young woman can only be Claudia’s youngest daughter Maria Leopoldine. The young sitter’s hair, lips and long nose are, in fact, quite compatible with those of Maria Leopoldine in the portrait cited above (fig. 2), which was painted by Lorenzo Martelli when she was eleven or twelve years old.

They also remind us of her features in the half-length version of the same portrait in the Piccolomini Palace in Pienza, which has her name painted on it: ‘maria leopoldina archid.a avs.a/ nata. est. an. 1632.7 ap.lis/ pincebatvr.an.1644’ (oil on canvas, as Copy after Lorenzo Martelli). Her features are also compatible with Maria Leopoldine’s in a portrait painted by Frans Luycx that belongs to the collection in Gripsholm Castle (see E. Ebenstein, Der Hofmaler Frans Luycx. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Malerei am österreichischen Hofe, in: Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen des Allerhöchsten Kaiserhauses, XXVI, 1906-1907, pp. 210, fig. 26, 229). Elias Wideman, in an engraving reproducing the Gripsholm portrait, identifies the sitter as ‘maria leopoldina romanorvm imperatrix germaniae, hvngariae, bohemiae, dalmat. corat. sclav. regina, arcidvcissa avstriae’.

Expert: Mark MacDonnell Mark MacDonnell
+43 1 515 60 403

mark.macdonnell@dorotheum.at

10.11.2020 - 16:00

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Justus Sustermans


(Antwerp 1597–1681 Florence)
Portrait of Maria Leopoldine von Habsburg-Tirol, Holy Roman Empress (1632–1649),
oil on canvas, 72 x 58 cm, framed

Provenance:
Almost certainly commissioned by the Innsbruck court from Sustermans as an engagement portrait, 1647;
Private collection, England by circa 1870 (according to the stretcher marked ‘J. Spender/ Liner’ – a London based picture restorer who died in 1876);
art market, England;
where acquired by the present owner

We are very grateful to Lisa Goldenberg-Stoppato for suggesting the attribution and for her help in compiling the catalogue note. Her written analysis accompanies the present painting.

This intriguing and previously unknown portrait of the young archduchess, painted by Justus Sustermans, is a significant rediscovery. Sustermans was the court painter of the Medici, the family of the archduchess’s mother Claudia, who married Archduke Leopold V of Habsburg-Tirol.

It has been suggested that this portrait was executed to celebrate the union of two branches of the powerful House of Austria, as such it would have been commissioned as an engagement portrait preceding the marriage of Marie Lepoldine and Emperor Ferdinand III (1608–1657). There are many iconographical hints alluding to this, not least the red and white dress the future Empress is portrayed in, which could be interpreted as alluding to the heraldic colours of the House of Austria.

Lisa Goldenberg-Stoppato concludes: ‘Both the brushwork and the dark priming, which show through the lady’s flesh tones, are quite similar to those used by Sustermans in a half-length portrait of Cosimo III de’ Medici (1642-1723) as a child (see K. Langedijk, The Portraits of the Medici, 15th-18th centuries, Florence 1981, vol. I, pp. 590, no. 19/10, p. 591, fig. 19/10). This portrait can be dated sometime between 1647 and 1650, a date also appropriate stylistically.

The precise date of when Sustermans painted this portrait of Maria Leopoldine is not known, however her apparent age suggests that she sat to him not long before she married Emperor Ferdinand III in July 1648, and the rose she is holding is a clear allusion to bridal status. Sustermans might have travelled to Austria in the entourage of courtiers that accompanied Anna de’ Medici to the court of Innsbruck in 1646, when she married Ferdinand Karl von Habsburg (see ‘Viaggio della Serenissima Principessa Anna di Toscana accompagnata dal Serenissimo Principe Leopoldo suo fratello da Fiorenza in Inspruch per andarsi a sposare con l’Arciduca Carlo Ferdinando d’Austria 1646’, ASFi, Mediceo del Principato 6381, ins. 1).

It is known that during Sustermans’s long career at the Medici court (1621-1681) in Florence, he was sent to paint portraits at other courts on several occasions, it is therefore also possible that he might have made a journey to Innsbruck independently, with the specific purpose of painting a portrait Maria Leopoldine so that she could be presented as a potential bride to the widowed Emperor. The painter might have made this trip in the spring of 1647: on 29 April of the same year a register of the Accademia del Disegno, the guild of Florentine painters and sculptors, informs us that ‘Giusto Suttermanno’, was unable to take on his assigned duty as Consul, because he was ‘impedito in servizio di Sua Altezza Serenissima’, detained in the service of His Most Serene Highness (see ‘In questo libro intitolato Tratte de’ Consoli del Accademia del Disegno nella Città di Firenze si noteranno in avvenire tutti quelli i quali secondo il solito s’estrarranno per le borse di detta Accademia per risedere nel Magistrato e durare per mesi sei […]’, 1622-1694, ASFi, Accademia del Disegno 60, unpaginated).

It is interesting to note that Ferdinand III communicated his desire to marry Maria Leopoldine to her mother Claudia only a few months later, on 13 November 1647 (see copy of a letter from Tramestoff [Maximilian von Trauttmansdorff] to Claudia de’ Medici, from Prague, 13 November 1647, ASFi, Mediceo del Principato 4463, insert 2, unpaginated).

Identification of the sitter:

Following the fashions of the times, the sleeves of the young lady’s red silk dress have been slit open to allow a glimpse of the white silk shirt underneath. The cut of the young lady’s dress, with its pointed waistline and low neckline edged with a strip of the same red fabric, can be compared with the black and white ‘veste vedovile’ worn by Margherita de’ Medici-Farnese in a portrait painted by Sustermans at an unspecified date after she was widowed in 1646 (Justus Sustermans, Margherita de’ Medici as a widow, Galleria Palatina, Florence, inv. 1912, no. 298, oil on canvas, 64 x 50 cm). The bow of black ribbon at the centre of the young lady’s décolleté resembles both the one worn by Margherita in the same portrait, and the bow on the dress of Grand Duchess Vittoria della Rovere, the wife of Ferdinando II de’ Medici, in a portrait in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Chambéry, which dates from the late 1640s or early 1650s.

There is one item of the young lady’s dress, however, that seems rather unusual for the wardrobe of a Florentine or Northern Italian woman of the time: she is wearing a wide, gossamer-thin, almost transparent collar, fastened at the neck by two ribbons, which covers her neck and shoulders entirely and lends a rather chaste note to her outfit. A similar wide, veil-like collar is worn by Anna de’ Medici the widow of archduke Ferdinand Karl of Innsbruck, in a portrait painted in 1666 by Giovanni Maria Morandi (Giovanni Maria Morandi, Anna de’ Medici as a widow, signed and dated 1666, Schloss Ambras, Innsbruck, on loan from the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, inv. no. 3110, oil on canvas, 191 x 128 cm). The unusual accessory can, in fact, be considered a first, significant clue for the identification of the young lady in red. Other clues are provided by the features of the young lady, which show a close resemblance to those of Archduke Ferdinand Karl’s mother, Claudia de’ Medici (1604-1648), the youngest daughter of Grand Duke Ferdinando I, who left Florence in 1626 to marry Leopold von Habsburg. The similarity of the young lady’s features with Claudia’s in a portrait painted at the time of her marriage in 1626 by Justus Sustermans (Galleria Palatina, Florence, 1890 Uffizi, inv. no. 752, oil on canvas, 113 x 86 cm) is striking enough to conclude that the sitter must be one of her daughters. It is possible to exclude her eldest daughter Vittoria, born in 1622 during Claudia’s first, brief marriage to Federigo Ubaldo della Rovere: the young lady in the present composition in red is, in fact, far slimmer than Vittoria, who had become quite plump by the late 1640’s. We can also exclude her second daughter, Maria Eleonore von Habsburg who died in 1629 at the age of two. The sitter must therefore be one of Claudia’s younger daughters, either Isabella Klara (1629-1685) or Maria Leopoldine (1632-1649) von Habsburg.

Since scholars have in many cases confused the features of these last two young archduchesses, the identification of the young lady in red requires a preliminary clarification of the errors made to date concerning the first extant portraits of Isabella Klara (fig. 1) and Maria Leopoldine (fig. 2), which are conserved in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. They were painted between 1643 and 1644, during a visit to Innsbruck of the Florentine painter Lorenzo Lippi, by his assistant Lorenzo Martelli. The sitter in one of these, a full-length portrait of Maria Leopoldine von Habsburg at age eleven in red holding a muff (fig. 2), was correctly identified by Günther Heinz in his 1963 catalogue of the museum’s collection of Habsburg portraits (Lorenzo Martelli, Maria Leopoldine von Habsburg-Tirol with a muff, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, inv. no. 8138, oil on canvas, 220 x 110 cm; see G. Heinz, Studien zur Porträtmalerei an den Höfen österreichischen Erblande, in: Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien, 59, XXIII, 1963, p. 208, no. 147; F. Solinas, Il pittore e l’arciduchessa e Il Malmantile racquistato, in: D. Frescobaldi/F. Solinas, I Frescobaldi. Una famiglia fiorentina, Florence 2004, pp. 138, note 23, fig. 142 [mistakenly as Isabella Klara]; L. Goldenberg Stoppato, Appunti su Lorenzo Lippi in memoria di Chiara, in: F. Falletti/F. Fiorelli Malesci/M. L. Strocchi (eds.), Un metodo per l’antico e per il nuovo. In ricordo di Chiara d’Afflitto, Florence 2011, pp. 87, 93, note 34). As Gudrun Swoboda has pointed out, this portrait is cited in an inventory made in Innsbruck in 1663, when archduke Sigismund Franz decided to transfer a series of paintings from the court palace in Innsbruck to the Castle of Ambras (see Inventärium. Über die Contrafaict und Gemähl, so aus beuelch der Hoch: und Erz: für: d: Sigismundi Francisci, Erzherzogen zu Österreich etc. von Ynnsprugg, in das Erzfürstliche Schloss Ambras, Anno 1663 sind Transferiert worden, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna, Handschriftensammlung, Cod. 8014, fol. 2r, no. 8 or fol. 5r, no. 4). Unfortunately, Heinz failed to recognise the features of Isabella Klara von Habsburg (1629-1685) in the pendant where Martelli portrayed the fourteen-year-old, blond archduchess in a similar red dress, holding a handkerchief. This portrait was catalogued by Heinz as an image of her sister Maria Leopoldine, an error that has been repeated in many subsequent studies. The archduchess’ true identity is established in the 1663 inventory. It describes the painting as a likeness of ‘Abermals ir durchlaucht erzherzogin Clara Isabella, in roter klaidung, ein fazanet in der linggen handt, lebensgross’ (‘literally her serene highness archduchess Clara Isabella in red clothing with a handkerchief in her left hand, life-size’) (see op. cit. Inventärium [...] Schloss Ambras, 1663, fol. 4r, no. 32 (see the transcriptions in G. Swoboda/B. Mersich, Das Ambraser Bilderinventar von 1663, Addenda zu Provenienzen der Gemäldegalerie des Kunsthistorischen Museums, in: Jahrbuch des Kunsthistorischen Museums Wien, 6/7.2004/05, p. 272 [unidentified]; and S. Haag (ed.), Ferdinand Karl. Ein Sonnenkönig in Tirol, exhibition catalogue, Vienna 2009, p. 267, no. 32 [identifying it with canvas no. 8118]).

Further evidence is provided by the half-length copy in the Piccolomini Palace in Pienza, bearing an inscription that identifies the sitter as Isabella Klara (copy after Lorenzo Martelli, Isabella Klara von Habsburg-Tirol, Palazzo Piccolomini, Pienza, oil on canvas, see L. Martini/B. Santi/M. Perugini, Il Palazzo Piccolomini di Pienza. Guida al palazzo e alle sue collezioni, Siena 2006, pp. 33 fig., 36; and op. cit. Goldenberg Stoppato 2011, pp. 91, 93, note 47). Heinz catalogued this painting as an image of Maria Leopoldine and suggested that it was painted roughly a year after her marriage to Emperor Ferdinand III in July 1648, only shortly before she died in childbirth on 18 August 1649 (see op. cit. Heinz, 1963, pp. 153-154, 208, no. 145, figs. 167 and 170; G. Heinz/K. Schütz, Porträtgalerie zur Geschichte Österreichs von 1400 bis 1800, Katalog der Gemäldegalerie, Vienna 1976, ed. 1982, p. 150, no. 124, fig. 164, plate XI). His hypothesis did not take into account the documents which date Lippi’s definitive departure from Austria in the spring of 1644, more than four years before Maria Leopoldine was married. On 8 April 1644 Claudia de’ Medici sent a letter from Innsbruck to her brother Lorenzo in Florence announcing the return of the painters (see Archivio di Stato di Firenze [ASFi], Mediceo del Principato 5163, cited by G. Pieraccini, La Stirpe de’ Medici di Cafaggiolo, Florence 1925, vol. II, pp. 475, 480, note 119 bis; C. D’Afflitto, Lorenzo Lippi, Florence 2002, pp. 107, 366, 371-372, document no. 5): ‘Tornandosene a casa il pittor Lorenzo Lippi, e Lorenzo Martelli suo aiutante […]’ – they arrived in Florence before May 11, 1644, when Lippi was given four hundred scudi owed to him by Claudia from Jacopo Giacomini (see the receipt in Fondazione Piancastelli, Forlì, reproduced in op. cit. Solinas, 2004, p. 152); which lead to the inevitable conclusion that the Empress could not possibly have posed for the painter while she was pregnant. Unfortunately, Heinz’s misidentification of the young pregnant woman has been repeated many times, and the portrait still appears with these false credentials in the museum’s database. The true identity of the pregnant sitter in the pink can be established, once again, by consulting the 1663 inventory of the paintings transferred to Schloss Ambras: the portrait is described in this manuscript as a ‘Mehrmalen ir durchlaucht erzherzogin Clara in pfersichpliefarben claidung, nebent ir/ auf dem tisch ein weis Bolonesisch hindl, lebensgross’ (literally as a portrait of ‘her most serene highness archduchess Clara in a peach colored dress with, on a table, a white Bolognese dog, life-size’, see op. cit. Inventärium [...] Schloss Ambras, 1663, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna, Handschriftensammlung, Cod. 8014, fol. 4v, transcribed in: op. cit. Swoboda/Mersich, 2004/05, p. 273, no. 42 [unidentified]; and in op. cit. Haag, 2009, p. 268, no. 42 [unidentified]).

Further evidence is provided by the striking resemblance between the pregnant sitter’s features and blond hair and those of Isabella Klara in a bust-length portrait painting roughly ten year later that belongs to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, which scholars generally recognise as a portrait of this archduchess (North Italian painter, oil on canvas, 65 x 55 cm, inv. no. 7938, see Heinz, 1963, p. 207; see op. cit. Swoboda/Mersich 2004/05, p. 278, no. and fig. 78; op. cit. Goldenberg Stoppato, 2011, pp. 88, 93 note 43, fig. 3). Unlike her sister, Isabella Klara had the chance to pose for Lippi while she was pregnant: in the spring of 1652, she paid a visit to her step-sister Vittoria della Rovere in Florence in the company of with her husband Carlo II Gonzaga di Nevers, her brothers Ferdinand Karl and Sigismund Franz and her sister-in-law Anna de’ Medici. The 1652 visit of Isabella Klara and her husband is mentioned in two court diaries. Isabella Klara was pregnant at the time of her visit, since she gave birth to her son Ferdinando Carlo on 31 August of the same year. Now that the mistakes made in the past have been rectified, it is easy to establish the identity of this daughter of Claudia de’ Medici. Since the likenesses of Isabella Klara cited above all portray her with blond hair, this darker-haired young woman can only be Claudia’s youngest daughter Maria Leopoldine. The young sitter’s hair, lips and long nose are, in fact, quite compatible with those of Maria Leopoldine in the portrait cited above (fig. 2), which was painted by Lorenzo Martelli when she was eleven or twelve years old.

They also remind us of her features in the half-length version of the same portrait in the Piccolomini Palace in Pienza, which has her name painted on it: ‘maria leopoldina archid.a avs.a/ nata. est. an. 1632.7 ap.lis/ pincebatvr.an.1644’ (oil on canvas, as Copy after Lorenzo Martelli). Her features are also compatible with Maria Leopoldine’s in a portrait painted by Frans Luycx that belongs to the collection in Gripsholm Castle (see E. Ebenstein, Der Hofmaler Frans Luycx. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Malerei am österreichischen Hofe, in: Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen des Allerhöchsten Kaiserhauses, XXVI, 1906-1907, pp. 210, fig. 26, 229). Elias Wideman, in an engraving reproducing the Gripsholm portrait, identifies the sitter as ‘maria leopoldina romanorvm imperatrix germaniae, hvngariae, bohemiae, dalmat. corat. sclav. regina, arcidvcissa avstriae’.

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