Sebastiano del Piombo, Italian, 1485/86-1547
Title: Portrait of Cardinal Antonio Ciocchi del Monte (1461-1533)
Date: c.1512 -1515
Medium: Oil on canvas (originally on wood)
88 x 69 cm
Credit Line: Bequeathed, Sir Hugh Lane, 1918
Object Number: NGI.783
DescriptionBefore his elevation to the Sacred College in 1511, the Cardinal depicted in this picture was a jurist, an auditor of the Apostolic Chamber, and Archbishop of Siponto. In this portrait he is wearing a mozzetta, the red cape that signified ecclesiastical position. Sitting at his right is an exotic pet – a small monkey – and in his right hand he is holding a paper, perhaps a letter or an official document. The composition is typical of the early portraits of Sebastiano, and was painted soon after the artist’s move from Venice to Rome. The artistic milieu of the Papal City had a dramatic impact on the painter, leading him gradually to transform his style. Elements of this portrait, such as the severe triangular pose of the Cardinal and the ruined antique-style buildings in the background, re?ect these changes, but the picturesque landscape in the background remains characteristic of Venetian taste. During his early years in Venice, Sebastiano was close to Giorgione and assisted him on more than one occasion. Once in Rome, he was in?uenced initially by Raphael and later became a friend of Michelangelo. In 1531 the artist obtained the office of Keeper of the Papal Seal, and was consequently known as del Piombo (of the lead), as the seal was of lead.
ProvenanceDiscovered in 1845; (?) Venice, Niccolo Renieri sale, 1666; Giovanni Maria Durazzo, Genoa, 1670; (?) Bignole Collection sale at the Galleria di Palazzo Rosso; Farnese Collection by 1693; confiscated by Cardinal Fesch in 1806; auction, between 1841 and 1845, Cardinal Fesch sale; purchased by Leopoldo Fabbri (or Del Nero collection); Angus collection, Montreal by 1857; Sir Hugh Lane; bequeathed, Sir Hugh Lane, 1918
Exhibition HistoryPictures by Old Masters Given and Bequeathed to the National Gallery of Ireland by the Late Sir Hugh Lane, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 1918

Centenary Exhibition, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, October - December 1964

High Renaissance in the Vatican (1503 - 1534), Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, 11 December 1998 - 11 April 1999

Sebastiano Del Piombo, Museo Nazionale del Palazzo Venezia, Rome, 7 February - 8 June 2008; Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin, 3 July - 28 September 2008

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