Bust of Maria Cerri Capranica

Object Details


Bust of Maria Cerri Capranica


Attributed to Alessandro Algardi (Italian, 1598 - 1654)




Italy (Place created)


about 1640




90 x 61.3 x 29.2 cm, 114.76 kg (35 7/16 x 24 1/8 x 11 1/2 in., 253 lb.)

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Befitting a young noblewoman, Maria Cerri Capranica is dressed in a velvet gown with an elaborate lace collar. Her elegant outfit is complemented by an array of jewelry--a long strand of pearls, a necklace set with precious stones, a pendant with a small relief of the Holy Family, and pearl drop earrings. The sitter was clearly a woman of status and affluence, and the sculptor depicted her with a powerful and distinctive psychological presence.

The fine details of the sitter's costume, jewelry, and hairstyle display a true mastery of marble carving. Maria Cerri's intricate coiffure--a mass of curls ornamented with loops of satiny ribbon--falls gracefully around her face. Algardi sculpted the delicate lace mantle in low relief with subtle contours that reveal how the garment fell around the sitter's shoulders. The strand of pearls, which weaves across the sitter's chest and around her sash, is carved entirely in the round. The attention given to her lace and jewelry makes this as much a portrait of her accessories as of the subject herself.

Married in 1637, Maria Cerri and Bartolomeo Capranica were from prominent Roman families. A coat of arms identifying both families appears at the base of the sculpture. Maria Cerri died at the age of twenty-five in 1643.


Possibly Lewis et Simmons, French (Paris, 622 place Vendôme, France)

- 1936

Sir Robert Henry Edward Abdy, fifth Bart., 1896 - 1976 (Newton Ferrers, Callington Cornwall, England) [sold Sotheby's London 28 May 1936 lot 34 to William Permain]

1936 -

Mr. William Permain, English (London, England), sold to William Randolph Hearst.

before 1939

William Randolph Hearst, American, 1863 - 1951 (Saint Donats Castle, Wales)

by 1952 - 1953

Mary Bellis, English (Charnham Close, Hungerford, Berkshire (England)), sold to Leggatt Brothers, London England, 1953.

- 1953

Leggatt Brothers (London, England)

by 1964 -

Charles de Beistegui, Spanish

- 1999

Carlos de Bestegui (Chateau de Groussay, France) [sold, Sotheby's, Chateau de Groussay, 3 June 1999, lot 460, to Daniel Katz, Ltd.]

1999 - 2000

Daniel Katz Ltd. (London), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000.

Bernini and the Birth of Baroque Portrait Sculpture (August 5, 2008 to March 8, 2009) (5.7)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), August 5 to October 26, 2008
  • National Gallery of Canada, (Ottawa), November 28, 2008 to March 8, 2009