Galleria Borghese logo
Search results for
No results :(

Hints for your search:

  • Search engine results update instantly as soon as you change your search key.
  • If you have entered more than one word, try to simplify the search by writing only one, later you can add other words to filter the results.
  • Omit words with less than 3 characters, as well as common words like "the", "of", "from", as they will not be included in the search.
  • You don't need to enter accents or capitalization.
  • The search for words, even if partially written, will also include the different variants existing in the database.
  • If your search yields no results, try typing just the first few characters of a word to see if it exists in the database.

Portrait of Pier Soderini

Unknown, 17th century

This painting was made by a seventeenth-century artist who has yet to be identified, although Venturi traced him to the Florentine milieu. It was listed in the Borghese Collection for the first time in 1833.

The sitter, who is portrayed in a three-quarter pose, was identified by Longhi (an identification accepted by Della Pergola) as Pier Soderini, one of the most important political figures in early sixteenth-century Florence.

In all probability, the painting is part of a series along with four other portraits of illustrious men, which are also in storage.

Object details

17th century
oil on panel
24x19 cm.

Cornice di tardo Settecento/Ottocento.


Rome, Borghese Collection (cited for the first time in the Inventario Fidecommissario Borghese, 1833, p. 30). Purchased by the Italian State, 1902. 

  • 2013 Roma, Complesso del Vittoriano
Conservation and Diagnostic
  • 2013 Fabrica Conservazione e Restauro


It is unknown when this painting entered the Borghese Collection. It appears for the first time in the fideicommissary inventory of 1833, in which it is listed as displayed in the Gabinetto of Palazzo Borghese. The work was later moved to various places in that residence, until it was recorded by Adolfo Venturi (1893) in Room XI of the villa.

It is imagined that the painting was part of a series of portraits made by the same artist: Francesco Guicciardini (inv. 454), Ludovico Castelvetro (inv. 448), a Pope (inv. 447, probably Pius III), and Michele di Lando (inv. 449). Although this portrait is slightly larger than the other four just cited, the fact that they were traced to the same painting school and their strong stylistic similarities suggest that all five were part of a series of illustrious men, even though the one of Soderini was always displayed separately from the others.

The artist who painted the portrait remains unknown. In the Piancastelli inventory (1891), he is identified as an artist from the school of Paolo Veronese, whereas Adolfo Venturi (1893) considered him a modest seventeenth-century artist from the Florentine school. What is certain is that, as stressed by Roberto Longhi (1928), he was a very mediocre artist and probably made the five portraits based on older and more prestigious models.

As already observed by Roberto Longhi, and accepted by Paola Della Pergola, this is a late copy of a portrait, known in multiple versions, of Pier Soderini. The most similar include one by Cristofano di Papi dell’Altissimo (location unknown) and another by an unknown Florentine, possibly Andrea del Sarto (W. Suida on the back of a photo in the Fototeca Zeri), in the Denison University Gallery.

With the scant information currently at our disposal, it is not possible to theorise about the specific provenance of this painting or the others. However, it is reasonable to imagine that they were not directly commissioned by the Borghese family, but rather purchased at a later time, between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, possibly from the collection of someone from the lower middle class. As has been revealed many times by research on the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century art market, it was not rare at that time for even people of modest social status to own a certain number of paintings, which were often sold for just a few scudi.

Camilla Iacometti

  • G. Piancastelli, Catalogo dei quadri della Galleria Borghese, in Archivio Galleria Borghese, 1891, p. 70.
  • A. Venturi, Il Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Roma 1893, p. 222.
  • R. Longhi, Precisioni nelle gallerie italiane. La Galleria Borghese, Roma 1928, p. 221.
  • P. Della Pergola, Galleria Borghese. I dipinti, 1, Roma 1955, pp. 144, n. 259.
  • P. Cavazzini, Il mercato delle copie nella Roma di primo Seicento, in La Copia. Storia del gusto e della conservazione, a cura di C. Mazzarelli, San Casciano 2010, pp. 257-270.
  • Il principe di Niccolò Machiavelli e il suo tempo 1513-2013, catalogo della mostra (Roma, Complesso del Vittoriano, 25 Aprile-13 giugno 2013), a cura di A. Campi, Roma 2013.