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Lot No. 29


Giovanni Battista Moroni


(Albino 1520/4 – 1579/80)
Portrait of a man with a red beard,
oil on canvas, 60.5 x 52 cm, framed

Provenance:
Count Faustino Lechi collection (1730–1800), Brescia;
Richard Vickris Pryor collection, England 1802;
art market, England;
Private European collection

Documented:
Inventory of Count Faustino Lechi, 1799, no. 325: ‘Moroni Gio. Battista […] Ritratto d’uomo di mezza età, busto, testa calva, barba lunga, rossa. Bellissimo. Tela ad olio, alt. br. 1 ½ x 1 ⅓’ (see F. Lechi in literature); 
Postmortem inventory of Richard Vickris Pryor, 1834, no. 128: ‘Pietro Morone d’Albino. Ritratto d’Uomo mezzo busto con testa calva’ (see F. Mannu Pisani in literature)

Exhibited:
London, Royal Academy of Arts, Giovanni Battista Moroni, 25 October 2014 – 25 January 2015, cat. no. 24 (as Giovanni Battista Moroni)

Literature:
F. Lechi, I quadri delle collezioni Lechi in Brescia. Storia e documenti, Flo-rence 1968, p. 145, no. 325, not illustrated;
F. Mannu Pisani, L’eredità Ciceri-Pryor all’Ospedale Maggiore di Milano: vicende di una famosa collezione, in: Itinerari, 2, 1981, p. 309 no. 128, pp. 312-313, not illustrated;
S. Facchinetti, in: Giovanni Battista Moroni, exhibition catalogue, ed. by S. Facchinetti, A. Galansino, London 2014, p. 125, cat. no. 24, illustrated p. 79 (as Giovanni Battista Moroni);
M. Wivel, Exhibitions: Giovanni Battista Moroni: London, in: The Burlington Magazine, no. 1342, January 2015, p. 42;
S. Facchinetti, Giovanni Battista Moroni: opera completa, Rome 2021, pp. 232-233, cat. no. 83 (as Giovanni Battista Moroni).

The handling of colour with the controlled modulation of light lends a three-dimensional quality to this portrait which is a naturalistic study of a head of an unknown sitter. Moroni approached his portraits, such as the present work without preparatory studies, instead his preparation was limited to a few summary lines drawn directly on the canvas, giving his work great vitality.

As Matthias Wivel has observed: “[…] Moroni painted what he saw, he also had an acute sense of arrangement and surface design. He was not averse to employing artificial effects, such as the orange contour line setting off the left arm and shoulder of the sitter in… ‘Portrait of a man with a red beard’.” (see literature).

The warm clear colours in the present painting, together with the luminous vermillion flesh tones are typical of Moroni’s portaits from around 1560. The sitter’s simple collar also points to this date in accordance with contemporary fashion. The detailing of fine wrinkles around the subject’s right eye, underscored by loaded strokes of light colour, suggest a date in proximity to that of the Portrait of Giovanni Zanchi in the Accademia di Carrara, Bergamo and the Portrait of Lucia Vertova Agosti, in the Musée des Beaux-Artes, Nantes, dated to circa 1557-1560 (inv. no. 112).

Born in Albino, near Bergamo, the westernmost city of the Venetian terra ferma, Moroni was strongly influenced by the Brescian artist, Alessandro Bonvicino, il Moretto (circa 1498–1554), with whom he worked in the late 1540s. While aware of wider pictorial developments, Moroni’s consistency as a portraitist reflected his dominance as the painter of a powerful landowning and mercantile elite in a prosperous area. Berenson refers to Moroni as the only major Italian cinquecento painter whose reputation is based on portraiture (see B. Berenson, Italian Painters of the Renaissance, London 1952, p. 190).

Note on Provenance:
During the eighteenth century the present painting was in the collection of Count Faustino Lechi of Brescia where it was correctly catalogued as a work by Moroni Gio. Battista (see documents). A note in the margin of the inventory states that the painting was confiscated, probably during the thirteen months of occupation of Brescia by Austrian troops (from May 1779 to June 1800). Subsequently, Napoleon and the French army conquered the Lombard territories, and the present painting was returned to the Lechi family.

In 1802 the Peace of Amiens was concluded, and it was possible for the British to travel to Continental Europe again. In the same year, Richard Vickris Pryor is recorded as the purchaser of a group of 250 paintings form the Lechi collection, including the present portrait (see documents). The pictures he acquired were mostly Italian and dated from the sixteenth to the eighteenth. In letters from Pryor to his friend Francesco Ciceri he reveals that the Lechi family wished to reacquire the present painting and that it was highly regarded by the Neoclassical painter Andrea Appiani (see F. Mannu Pisani, in literature, pp. 312-313).

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

mark.macdonnell@dorotheum.at

10.11.2021 - 16:00

Realized price: **
EUR 328,000.-
Estimate:
EUR 300,000.- to EUR 400,000.-

Giovanni Battista Moroni


(Albino 1520/4 – 1579/80)
Portrait of a man with a red beard,
oil on canvas, 60.5 x 52 cm, framed

Provenance:
Count Faustino Lechi collection (1730–1800), Brescia;
Richard Vickris Pryor collection, England 1802;
art market, England;
Private European collection

Documented:
Inventory of Count Faustino Lechi, 1799, no. 325: ‘Moroni Gio. Battista […] Ritratto d’uomo di mezza età, busto, testa calva, barba lunga, rossa. Bellissimo. Tela ad olio, alt. br. 1 ½ x 1 ⅓’ (see F. Lechi in literature); 
Postmortem inventory of Richard Vickris Pryor, 1834, no. 128: ‘Pietro Morone d’Albino. Ritratto d’Uomo mezzo busto con testa calva’ (see F. Mannu Pisani in literature)

Exhibited:
London, Royal Academy of Arts, Giovanni Battista Moroni, 25 October 2014 – 25 January 2015, cat. no. 24 (as Giovanni Battista Moroni)

Literature:
F. Lechi, I quadri delle collezioni Lechi in Brescia. Storia e documenti, Flo-rence 1968, p. 145, no. 325, not illustrated;
F. Mannu Pisani, L’eredità Ciceri-Pryor all’Ospedale Maggiore di Milano: vicende di una famosa collezione, in: Itinerari, 2, 1981, p. 309 no. 128, pp. 312-313, not illustrated;
S. Facchinetti, in: Giovanni Battista Moroni, exhibition catalogue, ed. by S. Facchinetti, A. Galansino, London 2014, p. 125, cat. no. 24, illustrated p. 79 (as Giovanni Battista Moroni);
M. Wivel, Exhibitions: Giovanni Battista Moroni: London, in: The Burlington Magazine, no. 1342, January 2015, p. 42;
S. Facchinetti, Giovanni Battista Moroni: opera completa, Rome 2021, pp. 232-233, cat. no. 83 (as Giovanni Battista Moroni).

The handling of colour with the controlled modulation of light lends a three-dimensional quality to this portrait which is a naturalistic study of a head of an unknown sitter. Moroni approached his portraits, such as the present work without preparatory studies, instead his preparation was limited to a few summary lines drawn directly on the canvas, giving his work great vitality.

As Matthias Wivel has observed: “[…] Moroni painted what he saw, he also had an acute sense of arrangement and surface design. He was not averse to employing artificial effects, such as the orange contour line setting off the left arm and shoulder of the sitter in… ‘Portrait of a man with a red beard’.” (see literature).

The warm clear colours in the present painting, together with the luminous vermillion flesh tones are typical of Moroni’s portaits from around 1560. The sitter’s simple collar also points to this date in accordance with contemporary fashion. The detailing of fine wrinkles around the subject’s right eye, underscored by loaded strokes of light colour, suggest a date in proximity to that of the Portrait of Giovanni Zanchi in the Accademia di Carrara, Bergamo and the Portrait of Lucia Vertova Agosti, in the Musée des Beaux-Artes, Nantes, dated to circa 1557-1560 (inv. no. 112).

Born in Albino, near Bergamo, the westernmost city of the Venetian terra ferma, Moroni was strongly influenced by the Brescian artist, Alessandro Bonvicino, il Moretto (circa 1498–1554), with whom he worked in the late 1540s. While aware of wider pictorial developments, Moroni’s consistency as a portraitist reflected his dominance as the painter of a powerful landowning and mercantile elite in a prosperous area. Berenson refers to Moroni as the only major Italian cinquecento painter whose reputation is based on portraiture (see B. Berenson, Italian Painters of the Renaissance, London 1952, p. 190).

Note on Provenance:
During the eighteenth century the present painting was in the collection of Count Faustino Lechi of Brescia where it was correctly catalogued as a work by Moroni Gio. Battista (see documents). A note in the margin of the inventory states that the painting was confiscated, probably during the thirteen months of occupation of Brescia by Austrian troops (from May 1779 to June 1800). Subsequently, Napoleon and the French army conquered the Lombard territories, and the present painting was returned to the Lechi family.

In 1802 the Peace of Amiens was concluded, and it was possible for the British to travel to Continental Europe again. In the same year, Richard Vickris Pryor is recorded as the purchaser of a group of 250 paintings form the Lechi collection, including the present portrait (see documents). The pictures he acquired were mostly Italian and dated from the sixteenth to the eighteenth. In letters from Pryor to his friend Francesco Ciceri he reveals that the Lechi family wished to reacquire the present painting and that it was highly regarded by the Neoclassical painter Andrea Appiani (see F. Mannu Pisani, in literature, pp. 312-313).

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

mark.macdonnell@dorotheum.at


Buyers hotline Mon.-Fri.: 9.00am - 6.00pm
old.masters@dorotheum.at

+43 1 515 60 403
Auction: Old Master Paintings
Date: 10.11.2021 - 16:00
Location: Vienna | Palais Dorotheum
Exhibition: 29.10. - 10.11.2021


** Purchase price incl. charges and taxes

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