This enigmatic portrait is difficult to place geographically and has few, if any, stylistic parallels. It was previously attributed to the Lombard school, largely because of its Italian pure profile format, but its technique appears to be Northern European. In the 1520s such portraits became fashionable in Augsburg, where the Imperial Habsburg court had close ties with Lombardy, and an attribution of the present work to a painter in that town seems most prudent.
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Title:Portrait of a Man in Profile
Artist:? Italian Painter (ca. 1525)
Medium:Oil on wood
Dimensions:13 1/4 x 10 1/2 in. (33.7 x 26.7 cm)
Credit Line:The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931
Charles-Léon Cardon, Brussels (by 1902–d. 1920); his estate sale, Fievez, Brussels, June 27–30, 1921, no. 17, as Lombard School, 15th century); [Kleinberger, Paris and New York; ?sold to Friedsam]; Michael Friedsam, New York (by about 1926–d. 1931)
Bruges. Palais du Gouvernement. "Exposition des primitifs flamands et d'art ancien," June 15–September 15, 1902, no. 322 (as by Lucas van Leyden, lent by M. Ch. Léon Cardon, Brussels).
Brussels. Hôtel Goffinet. "Exposition de la miniature," March–July 1912, no. 2053 (as by an unknown sixteenth-century Italian painter, lent by M. Ch. Léon Cardon, Brussels).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Michael Friedsam Collection," November 15, 1932–April 9, 1933, no catalogue.
Pasadena Art Institute. February 5–March 26, 1952, no catalogue?
Georges H. de Loo Palais du Gouvernement, Bruges. Exposition de tableaux flamands des XIVe, XVe et XVIe siècles: catalogue critique précédé d'une introduction sur l'identité de certains maîtres anonymes. Ghent, 1902, p. 87, no. 322, attributes it to an unknown artist at an unknown date; finds nothing Flemish about it, associating it with the Lombard school and suggesting that it is a copy after a painter such as Bernardino dei Conti or Ambrogio de Predis.
W. H. James Weale. Exposition des primitifs flamands et d'art ancien, Bruges. Première section: tableaux. Catalogue. Exh. cat., Palais du Gouvernement. Bruges, 1902, p. 123, no. 322, as by Lucas van Leyden, noting in the front of the catalogue that the attributions are those of the owners.
Henri Hymans. "L'exposition des primitifs flamands à Bruges (3e et dernier article)." Gazette des beaux-arts, 3rd ser., 28 (October 1902), p. 302 [reprinted as "L'exposition des primitifs flamands à Bruges," Paris, 1902, p. 82], rejects the attribution to Lucas van Leyden, calling it surely Lombard and noting that several critics assign it to Bernardino dei Conti.
Salomon Reinach. Répertoire de peintures du moyen age et de la renaissance (1280–1580). Vol. 3, Paris, 1910, p. 192, no. 2, ill. (engraving), tentatively assigns it to the Lombard school.
Bernard Berenson in The Michael Friedsam Collection. [completed 1928], p. 48, tentatively attributes it to Bernardino dei Conti and dates it about 1510, but notes that "there is something Northern about this head".
Bernhard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Oxford, 1932, p. 79, lists it as by Bernardino dei Conti.
Bernhard Berenson. Pitture italiane del rinascimento. Milan, 1936, p. 68.
Harry B. Wehle and Margaretta Salinger. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Early Flemish, Dutch and German Paintings. New York, 1947, pp. 209–10, ill., attribute it to an Augsburg painter and date it about 1525, finding similarities to "the expert circular portrait medallions carved in boxwood which were produced abundantly in and around Augsburg in the period indicated by our sitter's costume, between 1524 and 1527".
Julius S. Held. "Book Reviews: Harry B. Wehle and Margaretta M. Salinger . . ., 1947." Art Bulletin 31 (June 1949), p. 143, is unconvinced by Wehle and Salinger's (1947) attribution and dating, stating "the painting has the characteristic impersonality of a copy and we must consequently distinguish between the origin of the presumed original, which may have been Italian or even French, and that of the present copy".
Josephine L. Allen and Elizabeth E. Gardner. A Concise Catalogue of the European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1954, p. 41.
Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 55, 527, 607, as Attributed to Bernardino dei Conti.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 217, ill.
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