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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Half-Length Study of a Monk Holding a Book and a Long Implement

Bernardo Strozzi (Italian, Genoa 1581–1644 Venice)
ca. 1637–40
Black chalk, highlighted with white chalk on blue-gray paper
11 7/16 x 8 5/8in. (29.1 x 21.9cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Leonardo Mondadori, in memory of his mother Mimma Mondadori, 1997
Accession Number:
Not on view
This superb drawing by the Genoese Baroque master Bernardo Strozzi is a preparatory study for a devotional painting with ‘St. Anthony of Padua with a book and a lily’, now in the church of San Nicolò da Tolentino of Venice (for this painting see Annalisa Perissa in Bernardo Strozzi, Genoa 1995, no. 78).

The painting is generally dated to ca. 1637-1640 - that is, to the latest period of the artist’s career in Venice - and the drawing shows Strozzi's personal adoption and interpretation of the local Venetian technique of drawing with black chalk on blue paper, the tipycal Venetian support. The lively composition with the Saint, seen in bust-length, was annotated on its verso in pen and brown ink with the inventory number of the so-called Borghese-Sagredo Album "P.G.No 30." The initials "P.G." confirm the attribution of the drawing to Strozzi as they stand for "Prete Genovese" (Genoese Priest), the artist’s traditional nickname. The Sagredo albums are now thought to have been assembled in Venice by Zaccaria Sagredo (1633-1729) and, as argued by Piero Boccardo (in Bernardo Strozzi 1995, p. 280), most the volumes containing the "Prete Genoese" drawings were later sold in Venice to the French collector Jean-Jacques Boisseu between 1664 and 1664.

Compared to other large scale paintings by the artist, Strozzi’s ‘St. Anthony’ is a canvas rather small in size (110 x 91.5) but it was received with overwhelming success in Venice and extensively copied and reproduced shortly after its execution. As of today, at least five other painted copies of the painting are known, four generally considered autograph variations ( Museo Civico, Asolo; Museo Civico ‘Ala Ponzone’, Cremona; Cecconi collection, Florence [now lost]) and two later copies by a local Venetian painter (private collection, Rome; San Lazzaro degli Armeni, Isola). Of the three paintings, the one in Venice is closest to the Museum’s drawing which shows numerous ‘pentimenti’ (tentative outlines) in the definition both of the right hand and the left shoulder.

(Furio Rinaldi)
Inscription: Annotated in brown ink on verso, P.G.No 30, (from one of the Sagredo-Borghese albums).
Ermanno Stroiffi (Venice, 1616–1693)(?); Zaccaria Sagredo (Italian, Venice 1653–1729 Venice); Jean Jacques de Boissieu (French, Lyons 1736–1810 Lyons); Private collection, France; Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel, Munich; Donor: Leonardo Mondadori
Luisa Mortari Bernardo Strozzi. Rome, 1966, fig. no. figs. 416, 420.

Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel Katrin Bellinger, Kunsthandel: Old Master Drawings. Exh. cat., May 3 - 20. W. M. Brady and Co., Inc., New York, 1995, no. 13, repr.

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