Stock Photo: Portrait of a Man. Artist: Cosimo Rosselli (Italian, Florence 1440-1507 Florence); Date: ca. 1481-82; Medium: Tempera on wood; Dimensions: 20 3/8 x 13 in.

Stock Photo - Portrait of a Man. Artist: Cosimo Rosselli (Italian, Florence 1440-1507 Florence); Date: ca. 1481-82; Medium: Tempera on wood; Dimensions: 20 3/8 x 13 in. (51 ... .8 x 33 cm); Classification: Paintings; Credit Line: Bequest of Edward S. Harkness, 1940 / Whether this portrait was painted in Rome, where Cosimo Rosselli was employed in the Sistine Chapel, or in Florence, cannot be said with certainty. The sitter wears a costly red doublet lined in ermine and places his hand on the edge of the frame, in a manner found in the Netherlandish portraits of Hans Memling. Netherlandish portraits were much appreciated for their descriptive truthfulness.; Catalogue Entry: Throughout his long career Cosimo Rosselli painted many portraits of his contemporaries, most of them as bystanders in his religious compositions. This half-length portrait of an unknown man, one of his rare easel portraits, is of such high quality that critics have ascribed it to Botticelli or the Pollaiuolo brothers. Berenson's (1905) identification of it as a work by Rosselli is now universally accepted. When it came up for auction in 1929, Oskar Fischel proposed that it was Rosselli's self-portrait, even though it bears no resemblance to the woodcut that Vasari used to illustrate his life of Rosselli. The self-portrait identification was promptly rejected (Gronau 1931), but at the same time it was put forward independently by Richard Offner in an expertise for Knoedler's, dated February 16, 1931. However, the sitter's clothes-a bright red doublet lined with ermine, a linen undershirt visible at the collar, and a tall cap, originally bright azurite but now quite darkened-indicate he was a member of the Florentine patrician class. Suggestions for the portrait's date have ranged from about 1470 (Baldini 1953) to about 1485 (Berenson 1905). The portrait lacks the harshness of Rosselli's early works. Its gentle handling has more to do with the murals he painted in the Sistine Chapel (1481-82) and the church of Sant'Ambrogio (1484-86). With only three or four years separating these commissions, one hesitates to date the portrait firmly. As several writers have observed, Rosselli copied the motif of the hand resting on the bottom edge of the panel from one of Hans Memling's portraits in the Uffizi, Florence. Rosselli would imitate the dazzling effects of Netherlandish oil painting in later works, but here he still paints with the traditional technique of tempera, visible especially in the subtle gradations of the pale blue in the sky. A knot in the panel has caused paint losses on the right side of the man's chest, but otherwise the portrait is well preserved, contrary to Gabrielli's (2007) unfavorable assessment of its condition. [2011]; Provenance: Étienne Martin, baron de Beurnonville, Paris (until 1878; sold to Spiridon); Joseph Spiridon, Paris (1878-1929; his sale, Cassirer & Helbing, Berlin, May 31, 1929, no. 63, as a self-portrait by Cosimo Rosselli, for 450,000 marks); [Knoedler, New York, 1929-34; sold to Harkness]; Edward S. Harkness, New York (1934-d. 1940; life interest to his widow, Mary Stillman Harkness, 1940-d. 1950)

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