List of Artworks

Research Notes: Part 1, no. 20, Folio 3 verso

Francesco Salviati, Portrait of a Member of the Santacroce Family (1540-50)
Fig. I, 20, a
Francesco Salviati (Italian, 1510–63)
Title: Portrait of a Member of the Santacroce Family, Portrait of a Man from the Santacroce Family, Bildnis eines Mannes aus der Familie Santacroce
Date: 1540–50
Medium: Oil on panel
Dimensions: 97.5 x 67 cm (38 3/8 x 26 3/8 in.)
Current location: Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien (Provenance: 1680 Collection of Pietro Mellini)
Image Source: Kunsthistorisches Museum Wein Bilddatenbank

This painting was probably originally owned by the Patrizi family (Fernández-Santos Ortiz-Iribas, 2008) before it passed to Urbano Mellini III (postmortem inventory, 1667), and then to Pietro Mellini (inventory, 1680; poem, 1681). It has been in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, since 1804.

Jorge Fernández-Santos Ortiz-Iribas convincingly argues for the identification of the canvas described in the 1680 inventory and in the poem of 1681 with the one currently in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna; both the description and the measurements correspond (fig. I, 20, a).1 The painting was already listed in Urbano Mellini’s postmortem inventory, in which his nephews Savo and Pietro are designated as his heirs.2 Given that the sculpture depicted in the painting belonged to the collection of the Patrizi family, this is the most plausible provenance of the painting, since we know that some objects from the Patrizi estate passed to the Mellini family through the wife of Urbano Mellini III, Caterina Pinelli, who had previously been married to a member of the Patrizi family, Fulvio Astalli.3 In the inventory of Urbano III, it is specified that this painting came from the Patrizi estate—although there it is attributed to “felitiano”—and it is listed along with two other portraits attributed to Salviati.4 Several male portraits are recorded in the inventories of Mario Mellini IV (1732–1742), but the descriptions are too generic and in some cases no measurements are given.5 Thus it is not possible to connect any of those portraits with the one that is described in the 1680 and 1681 Mellini documents.

While the 1680 inventory says that this portrait is an original “by Raphael, or else by Parmigianino,” the 1681 poem declares “no one but Raphael” could have painted it. By the early twentieth century, however, it was attributed to Salviati, dating from the years that he spent in Rome after 1548.6 This kind of changing attribution of a painting over the centuries is not unusual.7


  • 1. Jorge Fernández-Santos Ortiz-Iribas, “The Inventory of Pietro Mellini’s Collection at the Palazzo del Rosario in 1680,” Burlington Magazine 150, no. 1265 (August 2008): 512–20.
  • 2. Archivio di Stato di Roma, Rome, 30 Notai Capitolini, uff. 31, Landus Pinus, 1667, fols. 336r–356v.
  • 3. Luisa Mortari, Francesco Salviati (Rome: Leonardo-De Luca, 1992), 152. On the use of antiquities by Salviati and his circle in their paintings, see Leatrice Mendelsohn, The Sum of the Parts: Recycling Antiquities in the Maniera Workshops of Salviati and His Colleagues (Rome: École Française de Rome, 2001), 107–48.
  • 4. Archivio di Stato di Roma, fols. 336r–356v.
  • 5. Archivio Serlupi Crescenzi, Rome, Inventario dei mobili di Mon Mario Mellini, vol. 84, 1738; Archivio Serlupi Crescenzi, Rome, “Nota de quadri esistenti nelle camere di Mario Millini,” 1732, in Scritture diverse della Casa Mellini dal 1522 al 1743, vol. 17, fols. 407–26.
  • 6. Mortari, Francesco Salviati.
  • 7. Leatrice Mendelsohn, The Sum of the Parts: Recycling Antiquities in the Maniera Workshops of Salviati and His Colleagues (Rome: Ècole Française de Rome, 2001), 107–48.


Ackerman, Gerald. “Gian Battista Marino’s Contribution to Seicento Art Theory.” Art Bulletin 43, no. 4 (1961): 326–36.

Agnelli, Jacopo. Galleria di pitture dell’e[minentiss]mo e r[everendissi]mo principe signor cardinale Tommaso Ruffo vescovo di Palestrina, e di Ferrara, ecc.: Rime, e prose. Ferrara: Per Bernardino Pomatelli . . . , 1734.

Alpers, Svetlana Leontief. “Ekphrasis and Aesthetic Attitudes in Vasari’s Lives.” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 23, nos. 3–4 (1960): 190–215.

Mojana, Marina. Valentin de Boulogne. Milan: Eikonos, 1989.