This unfinished portrait has been identified as the work of Daniele da Volterra, Michelangelo's faithful follower and the author of a bronze bust of the great Florentine artist. Indeed, an inventory drawn up after Daniele's death lists "a portrait of Michelangelo on panel." The source for numerous copies, the portrait was probably painted about 1545, when Michelangelo would have been around seventy.
Although the work looks unfinished, Daniele has fully described the sculptor's features and his left hand, almost as though recalling Michelangelo's notion that, "It is necessary to keep one's compass in one's eyes and not in the hand, for the hands execute, but the eye judges."
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Fig. 1. X-radiograph
Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.
Fig. 2. Daniele da Volterra, Two studies of the left arm and a study of a hand, black chalk on paper, recto (Cabinet des Dessins, Musée du Louvre, Paris; inv 1495)
Fig. 3. Letter discussing the painting written by Ingres in 1852 (1977.384.2)
Fig. 4. Infrared reflectogram (see Technical Notes for description)
Fig. 5. Isolated tracings (see Technical Notes for description)
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Title:Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564)
Artist:Attributed to Daniele da Volterra (Italian, Volterra 1509–1566 Rome)
Date:probably ca. 1545
Medium:Oil on wood
Dimensions:34 3/4 x 25 1/4 in. (88.3 x 64.1 cm)
Credit Line:Gift of Clarence Dillon, 1977
The Picture: The picture is unfinished and shows only Michelangelo’s head and his left hand. However, the shape—but not the articulation—of the figure’s upper torso was projected and has been held "in reserve," with the background color painted around it. Also visible upon close examination are details from an underlying composition that, in x-ray, is revealed as a Holy Family, with Saint Joseph peering over the shoulder of the Virgin Mary, who steadies the Christ Child standing on her lap (see fig. 1 above).
Portraits of Michelangelo: In his biography of Michelangelo, Giorgio Vasari recorded that there were four likenesses of the great sculptor: a medal by Leone Leoni (1509–1590), a bronze bust by Daniele da Volterra—a close associate of Michelangelo during his last years in Rome—and two painted portraits, one by Giuliano Bugiardini (1475–1555) and the other by Jacopino del Conte (1515–1598). Again according to Vasari, the painted portraits were much copied and, indeed, multiple versions of two distinct portrait types exist, the larger number being related to the composition of The Met's picture. ("Di Michelangnolo non ci è altri ritratti che duoi di pittura; uno di mano del Bugiardino, e l’altro di Jacopo del Conte . . . da e quali se n’è fatte tante copie, che n’ho visto, in molti luoghi d’Italia e fuori, assai numero." Le Vite, 1568, ed. 1906, vol. 7, p. 258). Vasari does not suggest when or under what circumstances the two painted portraits were made, nor where he saw them, and these facts need to be borne in mind in evaluating how much weight his testimony should be accorded in determining the authorship and status of the picture in The Met.
The portrait type invented by Bugiardini, a version of which is in the Louvre (inv. 874), shows Michelangelo bust length, his torso facing left, his head turned toward the viewer. He is bearded and wears on his head a white turban with a curious flip at the top—the turban (sciugatoio) used by sculptors to keep the head dry and prevent the mixing of marble dust with sweat. The picture was requested by Ottaviano de’ Medici and would have been painted about 1532, when Michelangelo was 57.
The Met’s picture has long been associated with Vasari's testimony as that created by Jacopino. As noted above, it depicts Michelangelo to below the waist, evidently seated, his body facing to the right, with his head turned toward the viewer and his left hand—the one with which he wielded the hammer when sculpting—prominently displayed, as though recalling his famous admonition: "It is necessary to keep one's compass in one's eyes and not in the hand, for the hands execute, but the eye judges." As the work of Jacopino, the picture has been dated as late as 1545–47 and by others (see Steinmann 1913 and Zeri 1978) to about 1535, when Jacopino was busy on a fresco of the Annunciation to Zaccharias in the Oratorio di San Giovanni Decollato in Rome and was in close touch with Michelangelo, whose likeness he is thought to have included as one of the bystanders in the fresco.
What can be said with confidence is that The Met’s painting is the prototype for the numerous variants of this composition, including an engraved portrait by Niccolò della Casa of 1548. Not only is its quality notably high, its conspicuously unfinished state is the best explanation for the various ways the other portraits belonging to this compositional type resolve the issue of the unfinished parts. That The Met’s painting is the prime version is now widely accepted (see Du Teil 1913 and Donati 2010); one copy, known as the Strozzi or Uffizi portrait, is now in the Casa Buonarroti, Florence, and was formerly considered the primary version by some authorities. The clear primacy of The Met’s painting and the variants of it have provided the basis for associating it with Vasari's narrative and ascribing it to Jacopino del Conte. The question is whether this line of reasoning is correct.
Before broaching this question, a third portrait-type—belonging to the Louvre and not mentioned by Vasari—requires mentioning. It is related to but distinct from Bugiardini’s and was, according to an inscription, painted when the artist was forty-seven years old, which is to say 1522, making it the earliest of the paintings. More aggressive in pose and style and in conveying a quality of Michelangelo’s celebrated terribilità, it shows the great sculptor only shoulder length, more broad-faced and wearing a turban. The figure is behind a marble parapet bearing the inscription identifying the subject and his age. It has been variously attributed to Daniele da Volterra and Baccio Bandinelli as well as to Bugiardini, but there is a growing consensus that, together with a related drawing, also in the Louvre (INV 2715, Recto) it is by Baccio Bandinelli (see Paul Joannides, The Drawings of Michelangelo and His Followers in the Ashmolean Museum, Cambridge, 2007, pp. 376–79; and Françoise Viatte and Vincent Delieuvin in Baccio Bandinelli: dessins, sculptures, peintures, Paris, 2011, pp. 141–43, no. 34, and pp. 288–90, no. P1). For our purposes, its importance lies in the fact that Vasari was incorrect in stating that only two painted portraits of Michelangelo exist. After befriending Michelangelo in Florence, Bandinelli had a falling out with him, but Michelangelo remained his exemplar.
The Authorship of The Met’s Painting: The creation of a coherent group of portraits attributable to Jacopino is of recent date. In the nineteenth century The Met’s portrait was considered a self-portrait by Michelangelo (De Romanis 1823), an idea that persisted into the twentieth century, although Gaetano Milanesi (1882) and others (Knapp 1912, Garnault 1913) ascribed it to Francesco Salviati (1510–1563)—who assisted Jacopino del Conte in the Oratorio di San Giovanni Decollato and whose activity as a portrait painter has proven equally problematic. Gaetano Guasti (1893) was the first to identify The Met’s picture with the portrait of Michelangelo by Jacopino del Conte mentioned by Giorgio Vasari, and this association has been taken up by most—but not all—later scholars (see References). Jacopino’s career as a portraitist has come into clearer focus through recent scholarship, but the primary point of departure has always been the depiction of Michelangelo. As to that, a complication arose when The Met’s picture was cleaned and x-rayed following its gift to the museum in 1977 and it was discovered that below the portrait there is a composition of the Holy Family that has been related to a well-known painting by Daniele da Volterra in the Elci collection (on this, see Romani 2016). Then, in 2010, Andrea Donati noted that in a postmortem inventory of Daniele’s possessions drawn up in 1566 there is listed a portrait of Michelangelo on panel ("un ritratto di michelagnolo [sic] in un quadro di legname"). By the 1530s, Daniele had left his native Tuscany for Rome, where he fell under the influence of Michelangelo, becoming a loyal disciple and close friend. At the end of his life, Daniele was hired by Pope Paul IV to paint over the nude bodies in Michelangelo's fresco of The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel, for which he earned the nickname "Il Braghettone" (the breeches maker).
In addition to the bronze portrait bust mentioned by Vasari—in two variants, as requested by Michelangelo's nephew Leonardo di Buonaroto Simoni following the sculptor's death (about which, see Donati 2017)—Daniele included a portrait of Michelangelo in his fresco of the Assumption of the Virgin in Trinità dei Monti in Rome (1548–53), for which the drawn cartoon (pounced for transfer) is in the Teylers Museum, Haarlem. Daniele is thus documented as portraying his esteemed colleague multiple times. Donati identifies The Met’s portrait with the painting listed in the 1566 inventory, attributing it to Daniele da Volterra and dating it to the summer of 1544, when Daniele was working closely with Michelangelo. In support of Daniele's authorship and in contradistinction to the implications of Vasari's narrative, he points out the stylistic affinity with three drawings by Daniele depicting left hands that are very similar in their articulation to the one seen in The Met’s painting (Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'Archéologie, Besançon; Musée du Louvre, Paris [fig. 2]; Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt). He also tentatively suggests that it is this same portrait that subsequently appears in the inventory drawn up in 1600 of the collection of Fulvio Orsini, the renowned scholar-librarian of the Farnese family. This association is not without complications, for the portrait owned by Orsini was ascribed to Jacopino—possibly, given Orsini's known scholarly interest in portraits of famous men, on the basis of Vasari's testimony.
Donati's attribution finds support not only in the composition of the Holy Family visible in x-rays beneath the unfinished portrait (fig. 1), but in the distinctly "marble-like" modeling of Michelangelo's face that is a characteristic of Daniele’s universally accepted autograph portraits in the Museo del Prado, Madrid, and the Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte in Naples. For these reasons there seems to this writer a strong case for ascribing the painting to Daniele and dating it around 1545, when Daniele came into close contact with the sculptor. Nonetheless, Carmen Bambach (2017, pp. 348–49 n. 152) has argued for retaining the attribution to Jacopino on the basis of: Vasari's statement; what she sees as differences in anatomical structure from Daniele's drawing in the Teylers Museum; and her feeling that the Holy Family visible in x-rays is closer in style to Jacopino's work than to Daniele's, regardless of the compositional analogy with Daniele's painting.
As already noted, the painting may have passed from Daniele da Volterra's collection to that of Fulvio Orsini (1529–1600), who bequeathed most of his collection to Odoardo Farnese (1573–1626); inventories of the Palazzo Farnese of 1644 and 1653 include self-portraits of Michelangelo, one of which could also be the Museum's picture. The painting is next heard of in the nineteenth century, when it was said to have been bought by baron Alquier in Naples (De Romanis 1823), where the Farnese collection had been transferred in the eighteenth century. After the painter Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780–1867) saw the picture in 1852 in the Chaix d'Est-Ange collection in Paris, he praised it as a self-portrait by Michelangelo in a letter now in the Museum's collection (1977.384.2; fig. 3).
In Conclusion: Although the present writer currently ascribes the picture to Daniele da Volterra, it is worth laying out the following points and possibilities:
1. The Met’s portrait is the prototype ascribed by Vasari to Jacopino del Conte, as indicated by the number of extant versions.
2. Vasari was mistaken about the portrait's authorship, just as he was mistaken about there being only two portrait types.
3. Daniele, who owned a painted portrait of Michelangelo, is the author of The Met’s portrait and thus, contrary to what Vasari thought, the originator of the most influential representation of the artist.
4. The portrait listed in Daniele da Volterra's inventory (authorship unspecified) was, in fact, not by him but by Jacopino del Conte, under whose name it was subsequently listed in the collection of Fulvio Orsini.
5. The Met's portrait is not the one listed in Daniele da Volterra's inventory.
Keith Christiansen 2017
In this IRR (see fig. 4 above), the overlying portrait of Michelangelo and the underlying composition of a partially completed depiction of the Virgin and Child with Saint Joseph are viewed simultaneously, creating a fascinating but visually confusing image. Close inspection reveals that the outlines of the figures in the Holy Family were laid in with a free, brush drawing using a liquid medium. In contrast, the portrait has a more carefully controlled drawing, executed in a dry medium, possibly black chalk.
By tracing the finished painted elements of the portrait (in blue) and the compositional drawing lines of the incomplete areas, which are more easily located using IRR imaging technology (in red), it is possible to understand the position of the figure and his costume—with its suggestion of a doublet, voluminous sleeve, and sash tied at the waist (fig. 5).
Michael Gallagher 2018
?Daniele da Volterra, Rome (until d. 1566; inv., 1566); ?Fulvio Orsini, Rome (until d. 1600; inv., 1600, no. 57); ?Cardinal Odoardo Farnese, Rome (1600–d. 1626); ?Farnese family, Palazzo Farnese, Rome (1626–at least 1653; inv., 1644, no. 3085 or 4335; inv., 1653, no. 257 or 285); baron Charles-Jean-Marie Alquier, Vilvorde, near Brussels, and Paris (purchased in Naples; by 1807–d. 1826); Monsieur Symonet (attorney for Alquier's estate; 1826–36); Gustave Chaix d'Est-Ange, Paris (1836–d. 1876); his son, Gustave Chaix d'Est-Ange, Paris (from 1876); his widow, Mme Gustave Chaix d'Est-Ange, Paris (in 1913); Chaix d'Est-Ange collection (until 1934; collection sale, Galerie Jean Charpentier, Paris, December 11, 1934, no. 29, as attributed to Michelangelo, for Fr 205,100 to Weiller); [Sidney Weiller, from 1934; sold to Dillon]; Clarence Dillon, Paris, later Far Hills, N.J. (mid-1930s–1977)
New York. Pierpont Morgan Library. "Drawings by Michelangelo, from the British Museum," April 24–July 28, 1979, not in catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met Breuer]. "Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible," March 18–September 4, 2016, unnumbered cat. (colorpl. 62).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman & Designer," November 13, 2017–February 12, 2018, no. 240 (as by Jacopino del Conte).
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "Michelangelo and the Vatican: Masterworks from the Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte, Naples," March 11–June 10, 2018, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512–1570," June 26–October 11, 2021, no. 70.
THIS WORK MAY NOT BE LENT.
Inventory of Daniele da Volterra. April 5–6, 1566, f. 778r [Archivio di Stato di Roma, "Miscellanea Corvisieri", fascicolo 50; published in Donati 2010, pp. 330–31], lists "un ritratto di michelagnolo [sic] in un quadro di legname", probably this work.
Inventory of Fulvio Orsini. June 14, 1600, no. 57 [Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan; published in Pierre de Nolhac, Gazette des beaux-arts, 2nd per., 26 (May 1884), p. 433; and Pierre de Nolhac, Mélanges d'archéologie et d'histoire 4 (1884), p. 175; Getty no. I-2092], as "Quadro corniciato di noce col ritratto di Michelangelo, di mano del medemo" [i.e., Jacopino del Conte], possibly this picture.
Inventory of the Farnese Palace and other properties in Rome. 1644, p. 165, no. 3085, or p. 236, no. 4335 [Archivio di Stato, Naples, Archivio Farnesiano, 1853 (II), fasc. VIII; published in Jestaz 1994; Getty no. I-2411], as "Un quadretto in tela, cornice di noce vecchia, ritratto di Michelangelo Buonarota" (no. 3085) or "Un quadretto in tavola con cornice di noce con il ritratto di Michel Angelo Bonarota di mezzo tempo, mano dell'istesso" (no. 4335), one of which may be this picture.
Quadri di Palazzo Farnese di Roma. 1653, no. 257 or 285 [Archivio di Stato di Parma, Raccolta manoscritti, n. 86; published in Giuseppe Bertini, "La galleria del duca di Parma: storia di una collezione," (1987), pp. 212–13; Getty no. I-2397], as "Un ritratto di Michelangelo Bonarota in tavola cornicetta di noce mano del d.o." (no. 257) or "Un quadretto in tavola con il ritratto di Michelangelo Bonarota fatto dall'istesso, cornice di noce" (no. 285), one of which is possibly this work.
Filippo De Romanis. Letter to Clemente Cardinali. June 10, 1823 [published in "Alcune Memorie di Michelangelo Buonarroti da' mss," Rome, 1823, pp. 5–6], recounts Jean Baptiste Wicar's description of this painting as a Michelangelo self-portrait that is only partially rendered in color and has an incomplete Holy Family in its underpainting; states that it was acquired by the cavaliere Alquier in Naples.
Domenico Moreni. Illustrazione storico-critica di una rarissima medaglia rappresentante Bindo Altoviti opera di Michelangelo Buonarroti. Florence, 1824, pp. XXVII–XXVIII, cites Wicar's identification and attribution of this portrait.
Domenico Campanari. Ritratto di Vittoria Colonna...dipinto da Michel'Angelo Buonarroti. London, 1850–53, p. 22 n. [see Steinmann 1913, p. 26, cited as 1854 ed.], cites this painting as a Michelangelo self-portrait.
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. Letter to Varcolier. January 10, 1852 [published in Dacier 1920], praises it as a self-portrait by Michelangelo.
Gaetano Milanesi, ed. Le vite de' più eccellenti pittori, scultori, ed architettori.. By Giorgio Vasari. Vol. 7, 1906 ed. Florence, 1882, p. 331, attributes this portrait, then in the Chaix d'Est-Ange collection, to Salviati.
Gaetano Guasti. Il ritratto migliore e autentico di M. Buonarroti. Florence, 1893, pp. iii–iv n.1, pp. xii–xiii, mentions an unfinished portrait of Michelangelo that was bought in Naples by cavalier Alquier; notes Milanesi's attribution to Salviati, but quotes Vasari's statement that the portrait is by Jacopino del Conte.
Cornelio von Fabriczy. "Mittheilungen über neue Forschungen:Ueber ein Bildniss Michelangelo's." Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft 17 (1894), p. 333.
Joseph Du Teil. "La collection Chaix d'Est-Ange." Les Arts 6 (July 1907), p. 6, ill. p. 4, calls it a Michelangelo self-portrait and discusses its provenance.
Ernst Steinmann. "Zur Ikonographie Michelangelos." Monatshefte für Kunstwissenschaft 1, nos. 1–6 (1908), pp. 50, 52, fig. 3, considers it the prototype for most portraits of Michelangelo, including the Uffizi portrait (now Casa Buonarroti), but makes no attribution.
Henry Thode. Michelangelo, Kritische Untersuchungen über seine Werke. Berlin, 1908, vol. 2, p. 548, no. XXXVIII, says that there is no doubt that the Uffizi portrait is based on this one.
Fritz Knapp. Michelangelo: des meisters Werke. 4th ed. Stuttgart, 1912, p. 165, ill. (detail, frontispiece), calls it the best portrait of Michelangelo and attributes it to Salviati.
Joseph Du Teil. "Essai sur quelques portraits peints de Michel-ange Buonarroti." Mémoires de la Société Nationale des Antiquaires de France 2 (1913), pp. 184, 186–89, 191 n. 1, 193–220, 222, 224, figs. 11, 15, 25 (overall and details), considers it a self-portrait by Michelangelo; illustrates three engravings after it (figs. 30–32), and a sketch made during the nineteenth century after the Holy Family underpainting (fig. 19).
Ernst Steinmann. Die Porträtdarstellungen des Michelangelo. Leipzig, 1913, pp. 23–26, pls. 8, 9B, attributes this portrait to Jacopino del Conte and observes that it may have been the portrait of Michelangelo by this artist listed in the 1600 inventory of Fulvio Orsini's possessions.
Paul Garnault. Les Portraits de Michelange. Paris, 1913, pp. 154–59, considers it a copy of the Uffizi portrait, which he attributes to Jacopino del Conte and dates about 1544–45; tentatively suggests Salviati as the author of this painting.
Ernst Steinmann. "Ein Michelangelo-Bildnis in der Stadtbibliothek zu Breslau." Monatshefte für Kunstwissenschaft 8 (1915), p. 432, repeats his attribution to Jacopino.
Hermann Voss. Die Malerei der Spätrenaissance in Rom und Florenz. Berlin, 1920, vol. 1, pp. 144–45, considers it without doubt the portrait of Michelangelo by Jacopino del Conte mentioned by Vasari, and calls the Uffizi portrait a replica.
Emile Dacier. "Les portraits peint de Michel-Ange." Revue de l'art 37 (January–May 1920), pp. 61–62, ill. p. 59 (detail) and opp. p. 60 (overall), pp. 186–88, supports du Teil's attribution to Michelangelo; publishes the Ingres letter of 1852.
Jean Alazard. Le portrait florentin de Botticelli à Bronzino. Paris, 1924, p. 164.
Ernst Heimeran. Michelangelo und das Porträt. PhD diss., Friedrich-Alexanders-Universität Erlangen. 1925, pp. 55–56, 60–61, rejects Steinmann's identification of this portrait as the prototype for other likenesses of Michelangelo; doubts the attribution to Jacopino, and considers the Uffizi portrait of higher quality.
[André Dezarrois] Musée de Saint-Omer. La Collection du Teil [and] Chaix d'Est-Ange: peintures, objets d'art, ameublement. Saint-Omer, 1925, pp. XX–XXII, XXXVII, considers it a self-portrait by Michelangelo.
Odoardo H. Giglioli. "Ritratto d'uno Scarlatti dipinto da Jacopo del Conte." L'arte 29 (1926), p. 65, fig. 2, calls it Jacopino's portrait of Michelangelo.
Carlo Gamba. "Un ritratto poco noto di Michelangiolo." Rivista d'arte 11 (1929), p. 66, argues that it was painted by Jacopino in Rome about 1540, under the influence of Salviati and Bronzino.
A[dolfo]. Venturi. Storia dell'arte italiana. Vol. 9, part 6, La pittura del Cinquecento. Milan, 1933, pp. 219, 221–22, fig. 128, attributes it to Jacopino, about 1535, and considers it the prototype for all other versions.
Ludwig von Baldass. "Ein beachtetes Bildnis des Michelangelo." Pantheon 28 (July 1941), p. 281, cites it as Jacopino's portrait of Michelangelo mentioned by Vasari and painted shortly after 1538.
Federico Zeri. "Salviati e Jacopino del Conte." Proporzioni 2 (1948), p. 182, attributes it Jacopino and considers the Uffizi portrait a mediocre copy.
Charles de Tolnay. "Note on an Unpublished Portrait of Michelangelo." Gazette des beaux-arts, 6th ser., 35 (1949), p. 449 n. 5, calls it a copy after a lost portrait by Jacopino.
Federico Zeri. "Intorno a Gerolamo Siciolante." Bollettino d'arte 36 (April–June 1951), p. 140, dates it about 1537.
Craig Hugh Smyth. "Bronzino Studies." PhD diss., Princeton University, 1955, p. 261 n. 2, ascribes it to Jacopino's "moderate, monumental style of interim mannerism," i.e., the 1530s.
Paola Barocchi, ed. La vita di Michelangelo.. By Giorgio Vasari. Milan, 1962, vol. 4, p. 1739, calls it the one that Vasari mentions as by Jacopino; dates it about 1535.
Deoclecio Redig de Campos. "Das Porträt Michelangelos mit dem Turban von Giuliano Bugiardini." Festschrift für Herbert von Einem zum 16. Februar 1965. Ed. Gert von der Osten and Georg Kauffmann. Berlin, 1965, p. 50, refers to it as Jacopino's original portrait of Michelangelo.
Josephine von Henneberg. "An Unknown Portrait of St. Ignatius by Jacopino del Conte." Art Bulletin 49 (June 1967), p. 140 n. 9, as by Jacopino; suggests that Michelangelo's pose was adopted from his portrait by Jacopino in his frescoes for San Giovanni Decollato, Rome, in 1535.
Iris H. Cheney. "Notes on Jacopino del Conte." Art Bulletin 52 (March 1970), p. 38 n.51, calls it a Jacopino of the 1530s.
S. J. Freedberg. Painting in Italy: 1500 to 1600. Harmondsworth, England, 1971, p. 501–2 n. 23, as by Jacopino; notes that it must predate his trip to Florence in 1547.
Charles de Tolnay. Alcune recenti scoperte e risultati negli studi Michelangioleschi. Rome, 1971, p. 19, mentions a group of portraits of Michelangelo, all with identical compositions, of which the prototype is attributed to Jacopino.
Charles de Tolnay. "Ein unbekanntes Porträt des Michelangelo." Festschrift Luitpold Dussler. Ed. J.A. Schmoll et al. Munich, 1972, pp. 205, 208 n. 1, lists it as attributed to Jacopino.
Francis Haskell. Rediscoveries in Art: Some Aspects of Taste, Fashion and Collecting in England and France. Ithaca, N.Y., 1976, p. 32, observes that although it was once considered to be a self-portrait by Michelangelo, it "proves to have been little more than a copy of a fairly well-established prototype probably by Jacopino del Conte".
Federico Zeri. "Rivedendo Jacopino del Conte." Antologia di belle arti no. 6 (May 1978), pp. 118–19, tentatively dates it about 1535.
Keith Christiansen inThe Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1975–1979. New York, 1979, p. 48, ill., ascribes it to Jacopino del Conte, observing that the Holy Family, partly visible beneath the portrait and fully revealed in x-rays, is manifestly inspired by Michelangelo and is also apparently a work by Jacopino.
Romeo De Maio. Michelangelo e la controriforma. Rome, 1981, pp. 243–44.
Jean S[hepard]. Weisz. Pittura e Misericordia: The Oratory of S. Giovanni Decollato in Rome. Ann Arbor, Mich., 1984, pp. 69, 164 n. 2, figs. 63, 64 (x-ray), notes that the x-ray reveals a figure composition more like a Holy Family in the d'Elci collection, Siena, by Daniele da Volterra than a work by Jacopino del Conte.
Hélène Toussaint. "Ingres et la Fornarina." Ingres et Rome: Bulletin spècial des Amis du Musée Ingres (Actes du Colloque). Montauban, 1986, pp. 69–70,74 n. 14, fig. 9, notes the use of this composition for a detail of Ingres's painting of Raphael and the Fornarina in a private collection in New York.
Marco Chiarini. Tableaux italiens: Catalogue raisonné de la collection de peinture italienne XIVe–XIXe siècles. Grenoble, 1988, p. 145, under no. 113, catalogues a portrait of Michelangelo at Grenoble as a copy of the MMA painting, which he notes is now considered Jacopino's original.
Enrico Bassan inDizionario biografico degli italiani. Vol. 36, Rome, 1988, p. 464.
Philippe Costamagna and Anne Fabre. "Di alcuni problemi della bottega di Andrea del Sarto." Paragone 42 (January 1991), pp. 24, 28 n. 46.
John T. Paoletti. "Michelangelo's Masks." Art Bulletin 74 (September 1992), p. 431, fig. 8.
Michel Hochmann. "Les dessins et les peintures de Fulvio Orsini et la collection Farnèse." Mélanges de l'École Française de Rome: Italie et Méditerranée 105, no. 1 (1993), pp. 61, 82, identifies no. 57 of Orsini's inventory with either no. 3085 or no. 4335 of the Farnese inventory of 1644.
Bertrand Jestaz et al. Le palais Farnèse. III, 3, L'inventaire du palais et des propriétés Farnèse à Rome. Rome, 1994, p. 126 n. 3085, p. 172 n. 4335, identify no. 3085 in the 1644 Farnese inventory with no. 57 in the 1600 Orsini inventory, but also mention no. 4335 in the 1644 Farnese inventory in this context.
Michel Hochmann inI Farnese, arte e collezionismo: Studi. Ed. Lucia Fornari Schianchi. Milan, 1995, p. 119, identifies the work included in the Orsini inventory with no. 4335 in the 1644 Farnese inventory, noting that the picture is listed as a self-portrait in the latter.
Jacob Hess and Herwarth Röttgen, ed. Le vite de' pittori, scultori et architetti: dal Pontificato di Gregorio XIII del 1572 in fino a' tempi di Papa Urbano Ottavo nel 1642.. By Giovanni Baglione. Vol. 3, Variante, postille, commenti. Vatican City, 1995, pp. 572–73.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 37, ill.
Alexander Wied inVittoria Colonna: Dicterin und Muse Michelangelos. Ed. Sylvia Ferino-Pagden. Exh. cat., Kunsthistorisches Museum. Vienna, 1997, pp. 317, 319, ill., under no. IV.3.
A. Vannugli inAllgemeines Künstlerlexikon: die bildenden Künstler aller Zeiten und Völker. Vol. 20, Munich, 1998, p. 601, calls it an autograph replica of a lost original by Jacopino, which he dates about 1535–40; notes that the Madonna composition underneath is attributed to Daniele da Volterra.
Joanna Woods-Marsden. Renaissance Self-portraiture: The Visual Construction of Identity and the Social Status of the Artist. New Haven, 1998, p. 37, pls. 21, 26 (overall and detail).
Anna Maria Pedrocchi. Le Stanze del Tesoriere: la Quadreria Patrizi, cultura senese nella storia del collezionismo romano del Seicento. Milan, 2000, p. 282, mentions it in connection with a copy attributed to Francesco Salviati in the Patrizi collection.
Ann-Sophie Lehmann. "De hand als hoofd zaak." Kunstschrift 4 (2001), p. 3, fig. 2.
Pina Ragionieri inMichelangelo tra Firenze e Roma. Ed. Pina Ragionieri. Exh. cat., Palazzo di Venezia, Rome. Florence, 2003, p. 22, states that the version formerly in the Chaix d'Est-Ange collection (the MMA picture) has long been identified as the prototype by Jacopino, which she dates about 1535.
Philippe Costamagna inRaphael, Cellini & a Renaissance Banker: The Patronage of Bindo Altoviti. Ed. Alan Chong et al. Exh. cat., Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Boston, 2003, pp. 337–38, 347 n. 52, p. 348 nn. 54–55, fig. 175, attributes it to Jacopino, dates it about 1547, and sees the influence of Sebastiano del Piombo in the pose; suggests that the large number of copies is a result of a version being included in Paolo Giovio's gallery of illustrious men at Borgovico.
Carl Brandon Strehlke inLeonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and the Renaissance in Florence. Ed. David Franklin. Exh. cat., Ottawa. Ottawa, 2005, p. 182, under no. 56.
Daniel Robbins inA Victorian Master: Drawings by Frederic, Lord Leighton. Exh. cat., Leighton House Museum. London, 2006, pp. 35, 37 n. 12, under no. 1.8, notes that Leighton's drawing made in Florence in 1856 (Leighton House Museum, London) was probably done after the Strozzi version in the Uffizi; refers to the MMA painting as the original by Jacopino del Conte mentioned by Vasari.
John Garton. Grace and Grandeur: The Portraiture of Paolo Veronese. London, 2008, p. 129, sees similarities to Veronese's portrait of Alessandro Vittoria (MMA 46.31), suggesting that the composition may have been known to Veronese through a copy or variant.
Andrea Donati. Michelangelo Buonarroti, Jacopino del Conte, Daniele Ricciarelli: Ritratto e figura nel manierismo a Roma. San Marino, 2010, pp. 163, 264–74, 300, 305, 331, figs. 250 (x-radiograph), 266 (color, overall and details), ill. on back of dust jacket (color), attributes it to Daniele da Volterra and dates it to the summer of 1544; discusses the similarity of the composition visible in x-rays underneath the painting to Daniele's Madonna in the d'Elci collection, Siena; identifies it with a work included in Daniele's inventory of 1566 and also tentatively with a work in Fulvio Orsini's inventory of 1600; relates it to three drawings by Daniele depicting left hands very similar to the one seen in the MMA painting (Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'Archéologie, Besançon; Musée du Louvre, Paris; Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt); discusses and illustrates numerous copies.
Michela Corso. "Jacopino del Conte nel contesto artistico romano tra gli anni trenta e gli anni cinquanta del Cinquecento." PhD diss., Università degli Studi Roma Tre, , pp. 51, 157, 188, 192–97, fig. 176 (color), argues in favor of an attribution to Jacopino del Conte, based on Vasari's description and the Farnese and Orsini inventories.
Andrea Donati. "Il 'Ritratto di Filippo Strozzi' di Jacopino del Conte." Arte documento 31 (2015), pp. 205, 210 n. 3, fig. 1 (color).
Andrea Bayer inUnfinished: Thoughts Left Visible. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met Breuer]. New York, 2016, pp. 282–83, colorpl. 62.
Michael Gallagher inUnfinished: Thoughts Left Visible. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met Breuer]. New York, 2016, pp. 44–45, 265 n. 5, fig. 4 (x-radiograph).
Andrea Bayer and Nicholas Cullinan inUnfinished: Thoughts Left Visible. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met Breuer]. New York, 2016, p. 100, fig. 1 (detail of underdrawing).
Vittoria Romani in Barbara Agosti and Vittoria Romani. The d'Elci Paintings: Daniele da Volterra. Munich, 2016, p. 85 n. 48, p. 116 n. 43, calls the composition visible in the x-ray “certainly in the manner of Michelangelo” but notes that it “does not show punctual affinities with Daniele’s Madonnas” and remarks on the fact that the portrait in Daniele’s inventory appears without an attribution.
Koenraad Jonckheere. Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard. part 19, vol. 4, Portraits After Existing Prototypes. London, 2016, p. 11 n. 2.
Carmen C. Bambach inMichelangelo: Divine Draftsman & Designer. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2017, pp. 254, 256, 348–49 n. 152, colorpl. 240, rejects Donati's (2010) attribution to Daniele da Volterra, arguing that it is by Jacopino del Conte and dates to 1538–40; also notes that the Holy Family composition visible in x-rays is closer in style to Jacopino's work than to Daniele's.
Carmen C. Bambach, Jeffrey Fraiman, and Furio Rinaldi inMichelangelo: Divine Draftsman & Designer. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2017, p. 313, no. 240.
Andrea Donati. "Il ritratto in gesso di Michelangelo all'Accademia di San Luca e i bronzi di Daniele da Volterra." Accademia Nazionale di San Luca: Annali delle arti e degli archivi 3 (2017), pp. 201, 203, 209 n. 2, fig. 1 (color), regarding Carmen Bambach’s return to the ascription to Jacopino del Conte, notes that Vasari is not always trustworthy.
Keith Christiansen inThe Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512–1570. Ed. Keith Christiansen and Carlo Falciani. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2021, p. 10.
Carlo Falciani inThe Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512–1570. Ed. Keith Christiansen and Carlo Falciani. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2021, p. 30.
Elizabeth Cropper inThe Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512–1570. Ed. Keith Christiansen and Carlo Falciani. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2021, p. 56.
Julia Siemon inThe Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512–1570. Ed. Keith Christiansen and Carlo Falciani. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2021, p. 162.
Sefy Hendler inThe Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512–1570. Ed. Keith Christiansen and Carlo Falciani. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2021, pp. 240–42, no. 70, ill. (color), notes that the attention paid to his elegant attire "confirms the elevated social stature of the sitter, not only as an artist but also as a nobleman," representing him as "a Florentine prince in exile".
Andrea Donati. "Marcello Venusti, Michelangelo, and the Legacy of Sebastiano del Piombo." Sebastiano del Piombo and Michelangelo: The Compass and the Mirror. Ed. Matthias Wivel. Turnhout, 2021, pp. 328–29, 332 n. 36, fig. 8 (color), as by Daniele da Volterra.
Costanza Barbieri. "Sebastiano as Portraitist and a Case Study: 'The Portrait of Michelangelo Pointing to His Drawings'." Sebastiano del Piombo and Michelangelo: The Compass and the Mirror. Ed. Matthias Wivel. Turnhout, 2021, pp. 204, 206, 208, 216–17 n. 37, fig. 9 (color), as by Jacopino dal Conte; argues that the picture listed in Daniele da Volterra's inventory could "equally well refer to the Hamburg picture [Sebastiano del Piombo, 'Michelangelo Pointing to His Drawings'] or to some other portrait, now lost".
Italian, Tuscan, about 1580, walnut cassetta frame with gilded moldings and pastiglia (raised gesso) roundels in the frieze at the centers and corners. Half-lapped, tennon-jointed, poplar back frame. Frame retains the original gilding.
Put on painting in 2013.
Funds for this frame were provided by Dianne Dwyer Modestini.
Ingres's letter of 1852 to his friend Michel-Augustin Varcollier (1795–1882), in which he discusses this painting, is owned by The Met (acc. no. 1977.384.2; Watson Library; see fig. 2 above). Following is a transcription of the text: "Mon cher Varcolier, / Notre charmante causerie de l'autre / jour a ravivé chez moi le souvenir du / beau portrait de Michel ange que / Me Chaix d'Estange à [sic] le bonheur / de posséder; portrait chef-d'oeuvre / en effet parti de la main de ce colosse / de genie! portrait vivant de ses moeurs, / histoire toute entière de l'art! en un / mot toute la vie de Michel ange un / de ces hommes si puissants après Dieu / et qu'il ne nous envoye que de siècles / en siècles! / Vous donc, cher ami, qui savez les / heures où l'on ne dérangerait point / Mr. Chaix d'Estange de ses hautes / occupations, sachez me dire le moment / de me faire revoir ce chef d'oeuvre et / d'autres de sa galerie pour me retremper / toujours à la source divine des anciens. / Votre ami tout à vous de coeur. / J. Ingres. / 10 janvier de l'année / libératrice et glorieuse 1852."
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