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Portrait of a young man

Negroni Pietro called Zingarello

(Cosenza 1505-10 - c. 1560)

First documented as forming part of the Borghese Collection in 1693, this painting was attributed to Pietro Negroni, called Zingarello, the painter from Cosenza. It portrays a young man in three-quarter pose with a sword at his side and a refined cap decorated with a feather and a small medal on his head. The subject, perhaps a knight, leans on a table on which a letter shows the words ‘IN ROMA’

Object details

third decade of the 16th century
oil on canvas
72 x 58 cm

Salvator Rosa  (94,8 x 77,8 x 6,8 cm)


Rome, Borghese Collection, 1693 (Inv. 1693, room VIII, no. 62); Inventario Fidecommissario 1833, p. 37); purchased by Italian state, 1902.

  • 2006 Napoli, Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte
Conservation and Diagnostic
  • 1914 - Luigi Bartolucci, pulitura generale, ripresa accurata del colore limitato alle parti mancanti, vernice finale;
  • 1996 - Paola Tollo e Carlo Ceccotti, sostituzione telaio, consolidamento, rimozione ridipinture, verniciatura, reintegrazioni pittoriche; restauro della cornice.


The provenance of this work is still unknown. It is documented for the first time in the context of the Borghese family holdings in the 1693 inventory, where it is described as ‘a young man with a sword at his side and a piece of painted paper which reads “in Rome”, at no. 650, gilded frame, by Titian’. This attribution was changed in the 1833 Inventario Fidecommissario to ‘school of Raphael’. For his part, Adolfo Venturi (1893) rejected both ideas, proposing rather the name of Parmigianino. At first accepting this attribution, Roberto Longhi later suggested Giorgio Vasari (Longhi 1928; 1967). His opinion, however, did not persuade subsequent critics, some of whom revived Venturi’s proposal, ascribing the work to Parmigianino’s circle (Froelich-Bum 1921; Copertini 1932; della Pergola 1955). Yet other names were also put forth: Girolamo Bedoli Mazzola (de Rinaldis 1939) and Jacopino del Conte (Quintavalle 1948).

The first critic to propose the name of Pietro Negroni, called Zingarello, was Sylvie Béguin (1988-89), who pointed to similarities between other works of his, beginning with the Nativity altarpiece in the church of San Domenico in Aversa, and the portrait in the Borghese Collection. At the same time, she noted that work in question lacks the typical elegance of the Parma school: in her view, the poignant representation of the eyes and lips suggests a connection with the Tusco-Roman style of Perino and Salviati was well as with the southern realism of Polidoro da Caravaggio. Pietro Negroni fits the description, as he was active in Rome together with Marco Cardisco (see, in this context, Leone de Castris 1996): it was in fact here that the painting was executed, as the writing on the paper – ‘IN ROMA’ – indicates. Béguin dated the work to the early 1530s.

While Kristina Hermann Fiore (2006) was not persuaded, Béguin’s theory was accepted by Pierluigi Leone de Castris in 1996 and confirmed in 2006 in the context of the catalogue for the exhibition Titian and Court Portraits from Raphael to Carracci, held in Naples. According to de Castris, the portrait in the Borghese Collection is a ‘rare trace’ of the artist’s secular production, revealing his fascination with  experiments of Polidoro during his Messina period. The work further betrays the influence of Cardisco’s idiom as well as the painter’s interest in ‘contemporary works by Flemish painters in Rome, such as Scorel and Heemskerk’ (see Leone de Castris 2006).

Antonio Iommelli

  • G. Piancastelli, Catalogo dei quadri della Galleria Borghese, in Archivio Galleria Borghese, 1891, p. 312;
  • A. Venturi, Il Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Roma 1893, p. 77;
  • L. Fröhlich-Bum, Parmigianino und der Manierismus, Wien 1921, pp. 32, 78, 153;
  • R. Longhi, Precisioni nelle Gallerie Italiane, I, La R. Galleria Borghese, Roma 1928, p. 185;
  • G. Copertini, Il Parmigianino, Parma 1932, pp. 202, 218;
  • A. De Rinaldis, La Galleria Borghese in Roma, Roma 1939, p. 44;
  • R. Longhi, Ampliamenti nell’Officina Ferrarese, Firenze 1940, p. 379;
  • A. O. Quintavalle, Parmigianino, Milano 1948, pp. 68, 98, 100, 124;
  • A. De Rinaldis, Catalogo della Galleria Borghese, Roma 1948, p. 82;
  • G. J. Freedberg, Parmigianino. His Works in Painting, Cambridge 1950, pp. 203, 233;
  • P. della Pergola, La Galleria Borghese in Roma, Roma 1951, p. 53;
  • P. della Pergola, La Galleria Borghese. I Dipinti, I, Roma 1955, p. 60, n. 101;
  • P. della Pergola, L’Inventario Borghese del 1693 (I), in “Arte Antica e Moderna”, XXVI, 1964, p. 204;
  • R. Longhi, Saggi e ricerche 1925-28. Precisioni nelle gallerie italiane. La Galleria Borghese, Firenze 1967, p. 337;
  • S. Béguin, Quelques peintures inedites de Pietro Negroni, in “Prospettiva”, LIII-LVI, 1988-1989, pp. 386, 387 note 22, 23;
  • P. Leone de Castris, Pittura del Cinquecento a Napoli: 1540 – 1573: fasto e devozione, Napoli 1996, pp. 56, 82, nota 37;
  • P. Moreno, C. Stefani, Galleria Borghese, Milano 2000, p. 242;
  • 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. 33;
  • P. Leone de Castris, in Tiziano e il ritratto di corte da Raffaello ai Caracci, catalogo mostra (Napoli, Museo e Gallerie Nazionali di Capodimonte, 2006) a cura di N. Spinosa, Napoli 2006, p. 280.