The J. Paul Getty Museum

Portrait of Pope Clement VIII (Ippolito Aldobrandini)

Object Details

Title:

Portrait of Pope Clement VIII (Ippolito Aldobrandini)

Artists/Makers:

Designed by Jacopo Ligozzi (Italian, 1547 - 1627)

Produced in the Galleria de'Lavori in pietre dure (Italian, founded 1588)

Executed by Tadda (Romolo di Francesco Ferrucci) (Italian, 1544 - 1621)

Culture:

Italian

Place:

Florence, Tuscany, Italy (Place Created)

Date:

1600–1601

Medium:

Marble, lapis lazuli, mother-of-pearl, limestone, and calcite (some covering painted paper or fabric cartouches) on and surrounded by a silicate black stone

Object Number:

92.SE.67

Dimensions:

97 × 68 cm (38 3/16 × 26 3/4 in.)

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Object Description

Commesso can best preserve antiquity and memory...and can resist all the battles of water and wind and other mishaps of fortune and of time.

Thus Giorgio Vasari wrote of commesso, a newly revived antique technique for making pictures with cut stone.His comments suggest that Ferdinando I, Grand Duke of Tuscany, commissioned this portrait of Pope Clement VIII in 1601 to preserve the pope's memory, since he honored antique culture and learning. The rigidity of the mosaic medium and the luminescence of the stones, which were thought to carry intrinsic symbolic values, give the image an austere power.

Pictorial representations in stone mosaic had been popular in ancient Greece and Rome and recently revived in Renaissance Italy. Images made of hard- and softstone commessi were much admired in the Medici court, particularly by Ferdinando, who founded a court workshop in which local craftsmen could be trained in the technique. Portraits in this medium, however, are exceedingly rare; this is one of only two surviving works from a group of four.

Provenance
Provenance
1600 - 1601

Grand Duke Ferdinando I de' Medici, 1549 - 1609 (Florence, Italy), sent to Giovanni Bardi, Ferdinando's ambassador to Pope Clement VIII in Rome, November 1601.
Source: letter from Ferdinando I de' Medici to Giovanni Bardi, October 10, 1601, cited in Zobi 1853, pp. 187-88.

1601 - 1612

Giovanni Bardi, Italian, 1534 - 1612 (Rome, Italy), by descent within the family, 1612.
Note: Fusco and Hess 1994 suggest that the portrait may have descended within the Bardi family and passed into Corsini ownership when "a member of his [Giovanni Bardi's] family, Pierantonio di Carlo, married Settimia Corsini in 1631."

1612 -

Family of Giovanni Bardi, Italian, 1534 - 1612

by 1853 - 1991

Corsini Family (Rome, Italy), by descent within the family, sold to Same Art Ltd.
Source: Zobi, Antonio. Notizie storiche sull'origine e progressi dei lavori di commesso in pietre dure... (Florence: Stamperia Granducale, 1853), pp. 184-88.

1991 - 1992

Same Art Ltd. (Zürich, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1992.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Art of the Royal Court (July 1 to September 21, 2008)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), July 1 to September 21, 2008
L'Europe de Rubens (May 22 to September 23, 2013)
  • Musée du Louvre-Lens (Lens cedex), May 22 to September 23, 2013
Bibliography
Bibliography

Lastri, Marco. L'Osservatore Fiorentino sugli edifizi della sua patria. 8 vols. 3rd ed. (Florence: Presso Gaspero Ricci, 1821), vol. 6, pp. 37, 39-40.

Zobi, Antonio. Notizie storiche sull'origine e progressi dei lavori di commesso in pietre dure che si eseguiscono nell'I. e R. stabilimento di Firenze (Florence: Stamperia Granducale, 1853), pp. 184-88.

Gotti, Aurelio. Le gallerie di Firenze: relazione al Ministro della pubblica istruzione in Italia (Florence: M. Cellini, 1872), pp. 66-67.

Marchionni, Edoardo, ed. Guida per il visitatore delle RR. Cappelle medicee e R. Opificio delle pietre dure in Firenze (Florence: Minori Corrigendi, 1891), pp. 99-100.

Pastor, Ludwig von. The History of the Popes from the Close of the Middle Ages. Vol. 23, Clement VIII (1592-1605). Ralph Francis Kerr, ed. (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., 1933), p. 32n2.

Bacci, Mina. "Jacopo Ligozzi e la sua posizione nella pittura fiorentina." Proporzioni: studi di storia dell'arte 4 (1963), p. 75n5.

Giusti, Anna Maria, Paolo Mazzoni, and Annapaula Pampaloni Martelli. Il Museo dell'Opificio delle pietre dure a Firenze (Milan: Electa, 1978), p. 282, under no. 39, entry by Anna Maria Giusti.

Bertelà, G. Gaeta, and M. Spallanzani, eds. Palazzo Vecchio: committenza e collezionismo medicei 1537-1610, exh. cat. (Florence: Palazzo Vecchio with Edizioni Medicee, 1980), p. 239, under no. 456, entry by Anna Maria Giusti.

Giusti, Anna Maria. Pietre Dure: l'arte europea del mosaico negli arredi e nelle decorazioni dal 1500 al 1800 (Turin: U. Allemandi, 1992), p. 143.

González-Palacios, Alvar. "Jacopo Ligozzi e il ritratto in commesso di Clemente VIII." Paragone 505-507, nos. 32-33 (March-May 1992), pp. 31-37, fig. 26, pl. 2.

Walsh, John. "Introduction: The Collections and the Year's Activities." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 21 (1993), p. 7.

González-Palacios, Alvar. Il gusto dei principi: Arte di corte del XVII e del XVIII secolo (Milan: Longanesi, 1993), vol. 1, pp. 393-99, fig. LXVII; vol. 2, p. 368, pl. 714.

"Acquisitions/1992." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 21 (1993), p. 144, no. 69.

Fusco, Peter, and Catherine Hess. "A Rediscovered 'Commesso' Portrait." The Burlington Magazine 136, no. 1091 (February 1994), pp. 68-72, ill.

Bremer-David, Charissa, et al. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Decorative Arts (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), pp. 34-35, no. 25.

Giusti, Annamaria. "The Grand Ducal Workshops at the Time of Ferdinando I and Cosimo II." In Cristina Acidini Luchinat, ed. Treasures of Florence: The Medici Collection 1400-1700 (Munich and New York: Prestel, 1997), pp. 122, 141n27.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 249, ill.

Wilson, Gillian, and Catherine Hess. Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), pp. 252-53, no. 522.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 249, ill.

Giusti, Anna Maria. Pietre Dure: The Art of Semiprecious Stonework (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2006), pp. 68-70, fig. 52.

Koeppe, Wolfram, and Annamaria Giusti. Art of the Royal Court: Treasures in Pietre Dure from the Palaces of Europe, exh. cat. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art; New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2008), pp. 148-50, no. 25, entry by Annamaria Giusti; p. 155n2, under no. 29, entry by Annamaria Giusti; p. 182, under no. 45, entry by Wolfram Koeppe.

Giusti, Annamaria. "Roman Inlay and Florentine Mosaics: The New Art of Pietre Dure." In Wolfram Koeppe and Annamaria Giusti. Art of the Royal Court: Treasures in Pietre Dure from the Palaces of Europe, exh. cat. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art with Yale University Press, 2008), pp. 20, 27n30.

Duindam, Jeroen. "L'Europe des cours princières: Entre Renaissance et premier XVIIe siècle." In L'Europe de Rubens, exh. cat. (Lens: Musée du Louvre-Lens with Éditions Hazan, 2013), pp. 84-85, ill.

Ducos, Blaise. L'Europe de Rubens, exh. cat. (Lens: Musée du Louvre-Lens, with Éditions Hazan, 2013), p. 297, no. 41, fig. 19, entry by Jahel Sanzsalazar.

Goudriaan, Elisa Johanna. "The cultural importance of Florentine patricians: Cultural exchange, brokerage networks, and social representation in early modern Florence and Rome (1600-1660)." Ph.D. diss. (Leiden University, 2015), p. 115.