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The Artistic Heritage of Modena: At the Origin of the Galleria Estense


Portrait of a Member of the de Thou Family

French Painter (dated 1540)

Oil on wood
6 1/8 x 5 3/8 in. (15.6 x 13.7 cm)
Credit Line:
The Bequest of Michael Dreicer, 1921
Accession Number:
  • Catalogue Entry


  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Dated and inscribed (top): ·ROMÆ 1540. MEN.MAR. (month of March) 'ETA.[2]8.

  • Provenance

    Michael Dreicer, New York (until d. 1921)

  • References

    H. B. W[ehle]. "The Michael Dreicer Collection." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 17 (May 1922), p. 102, considers it Italian in workmanship and identifies the coat of arms as that of Augustin de Thou quartered with that of his wife, Claude de Marle; erroneously states that the sitter [rather than his father, as is the case (see Ref. Wehle 1955)] was "Président du Parlement de Paris," and died in 1544.

    Charles Sterling. "XV–XVIII Centuries." The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of French Paintings. 1, Cambridge, Mass., 1955, pp. 43–44, ill., notes that if the inscription is genuine, the sitter was painted in Rome, in March, 1540, at the age of 28 (and thus born in 1512); on the basis of the coat of arms identifies him as one of the seven sons of Augustin I de Thou, president of the Parliament of Paris, and his wife Claude de Marle; adds that the cardinal's hat with four tassels which surmounts the coat of arms indicates that the sitter was a bishop or an archbishop, although the single son of this couple who was an ecclesiastic, Nicolas de Thou, Bishop of Chartres, was born about 1528; suggests our panel was one of the 150 portraits of various sizes that hung over the shelves of the celebrated library of the historian Jacques Augustin de Thou, among which was a portrait of Nicolas de Thou that has "not yet been located"; observes that the scale of this picture suggests the influence of Corneille de Lyon, but its style accords with the inscription claiming it was produced in Italy.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History