During the six years he spent in Italy (1621–27), Van Dyck was frequently in Genoa, where he painted some of his most magnificent portraits. This sitter is traditionally identified as a member of the patrician Durazzo family. Whereas many of his portraits recall those of his older colleague Rubens, who had also painted in Genoa, this one testifies to Van Dyck’s admiration of the work of the great Venetian painter, Titian (ca. 1485/90?–1576).
?marchese Gropallo, Genoa; Rodolphe Kann, Paris (by 1900–d. 1905; his estate, 1905–7; cat., 1907, vol. 1, no. 9; sold to Duveen); [Duveen, Paris and New York, 1907–8; sold for $114,445 to Altman]; Benjamin Altman, New York (1908–d. 1913)
THIS WORK MAY NOT BE LENT, BY TERMS OF ITS ACQUISITION BY THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART.
Wilhelm [von] Bode. Gemäldesammlung des Herrn Rudolf Kann in Paris. Vienna, 1900, p. V, pl. 67, gives provenance as collection of the marchese Gropallo, Genoa.
Gustav Glück. "Die Gemäldesammlung des Herrn Rudolf Kann in Paris." Die Graphischen Künste 23 (1900), p. 92.
Wilhelm [von] Bode. Gemälde-Sammlung des Herrn Rudolf Kann in Paris. Vienna, 1900, p. XXIII.
E[mile]. Michel. "La Galerie de M. Rodolphe Kann (2e article)." Gazette des beaux-arts, 3rd ser., 25 (June 1901), p. 502, as painted in Genoa.
Auguste Marguillier. "La collection de M. Rodolphe Kann." Les arts 2 (January 1903), p. 7, ill. p. 8.
Catalogue of the Rodolphe Kann Collection: Pictures. Paris, 1907, vol. 1, no. 9, ill.
Marcel Nicolle. "La Collection Rodolphe Kann." Revue de l'art ancien et moderne 23 (January–June 1908), p. 201.
Connoisseur 20 (January–April 1908), ill. p. 218.
Emil Schaeffer. Van Dyck, des Meisters Gemälde. 1st ed. Stuttgart, 1909, ill. p. 181 [2nd ed. by Gustav Glück, 1931, p. 541, ill. p. 208].
Wilhelm R. Valentiner. "Frühwerke des Anton van Dyck in Amerika." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, n.s., 21, no. 9 (1910), p. 229.
William Bode. "More Spurious Pictures Abroad Than in America." New York Times (December 31, 1911), p. SM4.
Wilhelm R. Valentiner. The Art of the Low Countries. English ed. Garden City, N.Y., 1914, p. 205, ill.
"The Altman Collection in the Metropolitan Museum, New York." Art and Progress 6 (January 1915), p. 87.
François Monod. "La Galerie Altman au Metropolitan Museum de New-York (2e article)." Gazette des beaux-arts, 5th ser., 8 (November 1923), pp. 298–99, identifies the model as the Marchesa Lomellini-Durazzo, possibly the same model as in the portrait now in the Ettlinger Collection.
Handbook of the Benjamin Altman Collection. 2nd ed. New York, 1928, p. 38, no. 12.
Gustav Glück. Van Dyck, des Meisters Gemälde. 2nd ed. [1st ed. 1909]. Stuttgart, 1931, p. 541, ill. p. 208 [1st ed. by Emil Schaeffer, 1909, ill. p. 181].
Duveen Pictures in Public Collections of America. New York, 1941, unpaginated, no. 186, ill.
Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, p. 305, 309, 313, 329, fig. 548 (color).
Erik Larsen. L'opera completa di Van Dyck. Milan, 1980, vol. 1, p. 109, no. 338, ill. p. 110 and colorpl. 32, dates it between 1621 and 1625.
Walter A. Liedtke. Flemish Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1984, vol. 1, pp. 54–56; vol. 2, pl. 25, suggests a date of about 1622–23, but notes that it may date to the mid-1620s; observes that it is strikingly anticipated in design and conception by Titian's "Empress Isabella" of 1548 (Prado, Madrid).
Walter A. Liedtke. "Anthony van Dyck." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 42 (Winter 1984/85), pp. 23–24, fig. 19 (color).
Walter A. Liedtke. "Flemish Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum—II: Van Dyck, Jordaens, Brouwer, and Others." Tableau 6 (February 15, 1984), pp. 29, 31, fig. 3.
Erik Larsen. The Paintings of Anthony van Dyck. Freren, Germany, 1988, vol. 1, p. 224; vol. 2, pp. 144–45, no. 354, ill.
Introduction by Walter A. Liedtke inFlemish Paintings in America: A Survey of Early Netherlandish and Flemish Paintings in the Public Collections of North America. Antwerp, 1992, pp. 24, 331, no. 206, ill.
Alfred Moir. Anthony van Dyck. New York, 1994, pp. 19, 23, fig. 37.
Maria Grazia Bernardini inAnton van Dyck: Riflessi italiani. Ed. Maria Grazia Bernardini. Exh. cat., Palazzo Reale. Milan, 2004, p. 159, under no. 1.
Camillo Costa inOttavio Costa (1554–1639): le sue case e i suoi quadri, ricerche d'archivio. Bordighera, Italy, 2004, pp. 89–90, fig. 26 (color), tentatively identifies the sitter as Luisa Costa, based on comparison with a portrait of Luisa by Jan Roos (Cassa di Risparmio di Genova e Imperia, Genoa).
Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), pp. 31–32, fig. 32 (Altman gallery photograph).
Xavier F. Salomon. "Review of Costa 2004." Burlington Magazine 150 (August 2008), p. 553, fig. 36, states that Costa's (2004) identification of the sitter as Luisa Costa is plausible and that the features of the women in the MMA and Genoa paintings are similar, but that the identity of the sitter in the Genoa painting requires firmer grounding.
The sitter was identified by Bode (1900) as a member of the Durazzo family which, by the early seventeenth century, had long been known for its patronage of artists. The supposition that Van Dyck executed the picture in Genoa is supported by its style and by that of the lady's dress, and there seems little doubt that Van Dyck painted portraits of women in the Durazzo family. A family resemblance might be noted between the sitter in the Museum's picture and at least one of these women, the older lady said to be of the Durazzo family, in a portrait by Van Dyck in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Strasbourg. The two portraits are also similar in composition and in the sitter's pose. Nonetheless, the identification of our sitter as a member of the Durazzo family must remain tentative.