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Portrait of a Man

bolognese school

The painting, whose author is unknown, is of good quality. The character represented, getting on in years as shown by the white hair and beard, is hard to identify, also due to the lack of details in the accessories of the robe. Only the simple white collar and a cloak are visible, probably an early sketch, which help recognise, at least hypothetically, a religious figure, a prelate or a cardinal.

Object details

secolo XVII
oil on canvas
cm 56 x 44

Salvator Rosa, 66 x 53.5 x 5 cm


Rome, Borghese Collection, 1893 (A. Venturi 1893, p. 71); purchased by the Italian State, 1902.

Conservation and Diagnostic
  • 2002-2003 - Andrea Parri, restauro della cornice


This painting was mentioned for the first time in 1893 by Adolfo Venturi, who described it as a Portrait of a Cardinal by a painter connected to the schools of Veneto. Unfortunately, we know nothing more about its provenance, as it does not correspond to any of the works listed in the historical inventories of the Borghese Collection or in the 1833 Inventario Fidecommissario.

Several details, such as the light and the psychological realism of the man depicted, indicate that it may be a product of Bolognese artistic circles, a suggestion put forth by Roberto Longhi, who defined it as a painting ‘in the Venetian style by an artist of the Accademia degli Incamminati’ (Longhi 1928). In this scholar’s view, the painter took part in those innovations introduced by the Bolognese academy, which was founded in the 1580s by Agostino, Annibale and Ludovico Carracci, as is well known.

Antonio Iommelli

  • A. Venturi, Il Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Roma 1893, p. 71;
  • R. Longhi, Precisioni nelle Gallerie Italiane, I, La R. Galleria Borghese, Roma 1928, p. 182;
  • P. della Pergola, La Galleria Borghese. I Dipinti, I, Roma 1955, p. 145, n. 264;
  • K. Herrmann Fiore, Galleria Borghese Roma scopre un tesoro. Dalla pinacoteca ai depositi un museo che non ha più segreti, San Giuliano Milanese 2006, p. 28.