List of Artworks

Research Notes: Part 1, no. 6, Folio 2 recto

Identified
Giovanni Lanfranco, Angelica and Medoro (1600-1647)
Fig. I, 6, a
Giovanni Lanfranco (1582–1647)
Title: Angelica and Medoro, Angelica e Medoro
Date: 1600–1647
Medium: Canvas
Dimensions: diam.: 110.6 cm (43 5/8 in.)
Current location: Milan, private collection
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository | PD-US
Provenance

Giovan Battista Mellini (Nota dell’eredità del Sr. Giovan Battista Millino, ca. 1625, ASC); Fernando Millini (Nicolai, 2012); (Pietro and Savo Mellini: inventory 1680, poem 1681); Buscaini Collection, Milan (De Marchi, 2001, 53–57); private collection, Milan (sold by Dorotheum auction house).

The exact correspondence between the description and measurements in the 1680 inventory with the tondo, now in a private collection in Milan, supports the hypothesis that it is the same painting (fig. I, 6, a). This hypothesis was defended by Maria Cristina Paoluzzi in an article published in 2011, in which she established the similarities between this painting and other works by Giovanni Lanfranco from the same period.1 Fausto Nicolai also defends this identification in his article of 2012, in which he relates this work to the intellectual and literary interests of Giovan Battista Mellini.2 The work is mentioned in the document Nota dell’eredità del Sr. Giovan Battista Millino (ASC), in which it is indicated that the painting was given by Giovan Battista to his brother Fernando, bishop of Imola, together with a preparatory drawing for the painting. The painting is described as: “[ . . . ] quadro d’una favola di un pastore e una donna che lo cura in un paesaggio” (“painting of the story of a shepherd and a woman who is ministering to him, in a landscape”).3 According to Nicolai, the presence of the preparatory drawing in the Mellini collection is a good indication that this painting could have been commissioned from Lanfranco personally by Giovan Battista Mellini around 1615–16.4 Later, the painting would be inherited by Fernando Mellini’s brother Mario Mellini III (father of Savo and Pietro), according to a document of donation signed in 1639 by Fernando Mellini himself, in which he donated his entire patrimony to his brother Mario and his male descendants.5 After this, the trail goes cold; the tondo is not mentioned in any of the later Mellini family inventories. It does not appear in the postmortem inventory of Savo Mellini (1701, recorded in the Getty Provenance Index) or in the inventories drawn up at the time of Cardinal Mario Mellini IV (who inherited the family’s estate jointly with his brother Nicola). According to Schleier, who based his claim on a photograph taken when the painting was in the Buscaini collection in Milan, the tondo was reproduced by De Marchi as a product of the workshop of Lanfranco.6,7 It was published as a work by a Ferrarese master of the 16th century by Alberto Riccoboni in the 1947 exhibition catalogue Prima Mostra Nazionale Antiquaria–Quattrocento Pitture Inedite,.8 In 1995, it was on the market in Milan and was reproduced in color in the catalogue Gotha.9 In 1996 Schleier mentioned it as a second autograph version by Lanfranco, and it was reproduced as an autograph work by Emilio Negro and Nicosetta Roio in 1997.10,11 The painting was recently sold by the Dorotheum auction house. The catalogue of this auction was prepared by Mark Macdonnell, who pointed out the connection with the Mellini inventory of 1680.12 Currently it is in a private collection in Milan (fig. I, 6, a).

Giovanni Lanfranco, Angelica and Medoro (1600-1647) Figure I, 6, b
Giovanni Lanfranco (Italian, 1582–1647)
Angelica and Medoro
17th century, between 1600 and 1647
Oil on canvas
182 x 199 cm (71 3/4 x 78 3/8 in.)
New York, private collection
Fondazione Frederico Zeri
This photographic reproduction was provided by the photo library of the Federico Zeri Foundation. The property rights of the author have been met.

There are other two versions of this subject in which Lanfranco uses the same basic composition for the main group of figures, although they are rectangular in shape. One of these, dated ca. 1616, is currently in a private collection in New York; according to Schleier, the rectangular painting belonged to Stefano Borghese, and the tondo would be a second version of the same subject (fig.I, 6, b).13 The other rectangular painting is the version that Lanfranco painted together with Agostino Tassi (ca. 1620), currently in another private collection (fig. I, 6, c).14

The supposition defended by Schleier—that the tondo was an autograph work by Lanfranco—is confirmed by the information contained in the Mellini inventory. This information also makes it possible to determine the subject of the painting; De Marchi had proposed it was the story of the wounded Tancredi being ministered to by Erminia and Vafrino, from Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata, instead of Angelica ministering to the wounded Medoro, from Ariosto’s Orlando furioso.15 The subject of the painting is not specified in the inventory of Giovan Battista Mellini, but it is clearly described in the 1680 Pietro Mellini inventory and in Pietro’s poem of 1681 as being the famous episode of Angelica and Medoro from Ariosto. Perhaps the fact that Lanfranco painted other subjects from Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata around the time that he painted this tondo contributed to De Marchi’s thesis, which is clearly contradicted by the Mellini documents of 1680 and 1681.

Footnotes

  • 1.Maria Cristina Paoluzzi, “Un dipinto di Giovanni Lanfranco dalla collezione di Pietro e Savio Mellini: Angelica e Medoro,” in Maria Giulia Aurigemma and Silvia Danesi Squarzina, eds., Dal Razionalismo al Rinascimento per i quaranta anni di studi di Silvia Danesi Squarzina (Rome: Campisano, 2011), 274–80.
  • 2.Fausto Nicolai, “Le ‘molte pitture moderne buone’ nella raccolta di Giovan Battista Mellini (1591–1627),” Rivista d’arte, ser. 5, vol. 2 (2012): 217–35.
  • 3.Archivio Serlupi Crescenzi, Rome, Scritture diverse della Casa Millini dal 1400 al 1630, vol. 8, unpaginated. The family archive of the Serlupi-Crescenzi family, descendants of the Mellini, was consulted in situ by co-principal investigator Nuria Rodríguez Ortega in November 2011 and July 2013.
  • 4.Nicolai, “Le ‘molte pitture moderne buone,’” 217–35.
  • 5.Archivio Serlupi Crescenzi, Rome, “Instrumento publico della donatione inter vivos fatta dall Illmo, e Rmo MS Ferdinando Millini vescovo d’Imola bo me: a favore dell’Ilmo. Sr. Mario Millini su fr[at]ello, e de suoi fligioi maschi, e descendenti p. linea mascolina infinitu di tutti li suoi beni paterni, materni, e fideicomissarj ad esso espettanti,” in Scritture diverse della Casa Millini dal 1631 al 1674, vol. 9, unpaginated.
  • 6.Erich Schleier, “Note sul percorso artistico di Giovanni Lanfranco,” in idem, ed., Giovanni Lanfranco: Un pittore barocco tra Parma, Roma e Napoli, exh. cat. (Milan: Electa, 2001), 27–52 (cat. no. 343).
  • 7.Andrea G. De Marchi, “Breve istruttoria su Lanfranco e il paesaggio,” Quaderni di Palazzo Pepoli Campogrande 7 (2001): 53–57.
  • 8.See entry 82, “Gregorio Pagani(?): Clorinda e Tandcredi,” in Alberto Riccoboni, Quattrocento Pitture Inedite (Venice: Organizzazione Manifestazioni Artistiche, 1947), 130.
  • 9.The reference to Gotha (Parma, December 1995, 76–77) is from Schleier, “Note sul percorso artistico di Giovanni Lanfranco.”
  • 10.Erich Schleier, “Lanfranco: L’anno 1614,” in Ferdinando Bologna et al., eds., Scritti in memoria di Raffaello Causa: Saggi e documenti per la storia dell’arte (1994–1995) (Naples: Electa, 1996), 232–41.
  • 11.Emilio Negro, Nicosetta Roio, and Carlo Giovannini, Pietro Faccini 1575/76–1602 (Modena: Artioli, 1997), 30, 36.
  • 12. See “I capolavori della casa d’aste austriaca Dorotheum,” posted on 18 March 2011, Fidest Press Agency.
  • 13.Schleier, “Note sul percorso artistico di Giovanni Lanfranco,” no. 37.
  • 14.Schleier, “Note sul percorso artistico di Giovanni Lanfranco,” no. 37.
  • 15.De Marchi, “Breve istruttoria su Lanfranco e il paesaggio,” 53–57.

References

Nicolai, Fausto. Mecenati a confronto: Committenza, collezionismo e mercato dell’arte nella Roma del primo Seicento: Le famiglie Massimo, Altemps, Naro e Colonna. Rome: Campisano, 2008.

Nicolai, Fausto. “La committenza del Cardinale Giovanni Garzia Mellini a Roma: Giovanni da San Giovanni, Agostino Tassi e Valentin de Boulogne.” Rivista dell’istituto nazionale d’archeologia e storia dell’arte 27, no. 59 (2004, published 2010): 199–205.

Nicolai, Fausto. “Le ‘molte pitture moderne buone’ nella raccolta di Giovan Battista Mellini (1591–1627).” Rivista d’Arte, ser. 5, vol. 2 (2012): 217–35.

Schleier, Erich. “Lanfranco: L’anno 1614.” In Ferdinando Bologna et al., Scritti in memoria di Raffaello Causa: Saggi e documenti per la storia dell’arte (1994–1995), 232–41. Naples: Electa, 1996.

Schleier, Erich. “Note sul percorso artistico di Giovanni Lanfranco.” In idem, ed., Giovanni Lanfranco: Un pittore barocco tra Parma, Roma e Napoli, 27–52. Exh. cat. Milan: Electra, 2001.