- Museum number
Self-portrait; head and shoulders, turned slightly to right, looking to front, with long, curly hair and falling bands
- Production date
Height: 367 millimetres
Width: 273 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Lit.: H. Voss, 'Die Malerei des Barock in Rom', Berlin, 1924 p. 600; L. Goldscheider (trans. by J. Byam Shaw), 'Five Hundred Self-portraits from Antique Times to the Present Day in Sculpture, Painting, Drawing and Engraving', Vienna, 1937, pl. 245; J. Byam Shaw, 'Drawings by Old Masters at Christ Church, Oxford', Oxford, 1976, I, under no. 642; N. Turner, 'Italian Drawings in the BM, Roman Baroque Drawings', London, 1999, I, no. 183 (with further literature)
The last inscription [See Inscription] would appear to indicate that Fountaine first visited Rome when he was aged only 16, while a second visit is recorded by an inscription on Baldi's drawing of St Luke (1941,1011.171) as taking place in 1698. The visit of 1701-2, therefore, seems not to have been his first as Moore suggests (Norwich, 1985, p. 93, under no. 15).
The drawing, with its elaborate border in pen and brown wash, is evidently from the album belonging to Sir Andrew Fountaine which was broken up and sold in 1902; all the drawings contained within this album seem to have had similar decorative borders (see also 1941,1011.171 and 1902,0822.10). It must be the same as that included in an earlier sale of the Fountaine collection held at Christie's, London, 7-10 July 1884, as lot 825: "carlo maratti ... Portrait of himself, in red chalk; presented by the artist to Sir Andrew Fountaine in 1692", which was apparently bought in at the sale and presumably then returned to the owner.
Several self-portraits by Maratti, and numerous copies, are known. This example bears some relationship to the painted self-portrait in the Uffizi, in which the artist is also shown full face looking at the spectator (inv.no. 1686; Berti, 1980, p.927). The precise nature of their connection is unclear since the painting, according to Mena (1976, p. 256, pl.37), was sent to Florence before July 1682, whilst the drawing is dated 1684. A copy of the British Museum drawing, in reverse (possibly an offset), is in the Accademia, Venice (inv.no.741; Rodino, 1989, no.87). Another drawing connected with the Uffizi painting is in the Academia de San Fernando, Madrid (inv.no. 1669; Mena, 1975, II, pp.791-2, no.433). Published by Mena as a preparatory study (1976, pp. 256-7, pl. 38), the drawing, though feeble and unfinished, does indeed appear to be autograph.
Three further autograph self-portrait drawings by Maratti compare extremely well with the British Museum drawing in terms of pose, costume and execution (particularly in respect of the dense network of cross-hatchings used to achieve modulations of tone and texture in the face and hair). These are in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden (inv.no. c 245), the Albertina, Vienna (inv.no. 1042; Birke and Kertész, 1992-7, I, pp. 533-4; head at a slightly different angle and eyes to the right) and the Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt (inv. no.AE 2164).
The Darmstadt drawing is the prototype of numerous copies and versions of varying quality. Those that have so far come to light are as follows: Academia de San Fernando, Madrid (inv. no. 1606; Mena, 1975, II, p. 792, no. 434) annotated on the verso, "Orig.l de Carlo Marati n.o. 365/29"; Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica, Rome (inv. no. FC 126290); ex-Sotheby's sale, London, 7 December 1987, lot 129; H.Reitlinger coll., London; Kunstmuseum, Düsseldorf (inv. no. FP 1146; Harris and Schaar, 1967, no. 722); and Kunsthalle, Hamburg (inv. no. 21258). Frey's engraving (Colnaghi's, London, 'Portraits of Artists, Writers and Musicians', December 1976, no. 4), which can be dated after 1704, because of the cross of knighthood worn by Maratti and awarded in that year, also appears to constitute a reworking of the Darmstadt sketch, although the latter was almost certainly executed considerably earlier (perhaps, like the present drawing, in the early 1680s). It is possible that Maratti himself was responsible for reworking the earlier drawing into a new composition to be engraved by Frey. This hypothesis is strengthened by the existence of two preparatory drawings for Frey's engraving, in the Louvre, Paris (inv. no. 3372) and the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid (inv.no. 7575). In the former, the oval format has already been selected but the position of the right hand is uncertain and the left hand is absent altogether. The Madrid sheet contains detail studies of both hands and the drapery of the near sleeve.
Another half-length painted self-portrait by Maratti in the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (inv. no. 4074; Pauwels, 1984, p. 183), is closely related to, and indeed probably depends upon, its counterpart in the Stourhead double portrait, 'Carlo Maratti and the Marquis Pallavicini', signed and dated 1705. A self-portrait drawing at Christ Church, Oxford (inv. no. 0621; Byam Shaw, 1976, I, no. 642; II, fig. 351), may have been executed in connection with either of these paintings. The position of the head is similar to both, but in reverse (interestingly enough like the British Museum drawing, another instance of a drawing related to a self-portrait painting but in the opposite direction). A drawing in Düsseldorf (inv. no. FP 1110; Harris and Schaar, 1967, no. 411) has also been connected by Schaar with the Stourhead portrait. What appears to be a primo pensiero by Maratti for the Stourhead composition, which also includes a self-portrait sketch, is also in the British Museum (1946,0713.774; published by Mezzetti, 1961).
It is probable that many more self-portrait drawings and copies exist or will come to light, such as the one formerly in the collection of R. Houlditch (sale, Langford, 12 February 1760, lot 50: "One Carlo Maratti by himself").
It is worth noting here that a particularly beautiful drawn portrait by Maratti of the young Sir Andrew Fountaine, dated c. 1702, is still in the possession of the family (see Norwich, 1985, no. 15).
Literature: Voss, 1924, p. 600; Goldscheider, 1937, pl. 245; Mezzetti, 1955, p. 349; under no. 177; Byam Shaw, 1976, I, p. 174, under no. 642; Mena, 1976, p. 257, n. 84; Rodinò, 1989, no. 87.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1974 July-Dec, BM, Portrait Drawings, no.146
1994/5 Oct-Jan, Liverpool, Walker AG, Face to Face: Three Centuries of Self-Portraiture, no.9
2005 July-Sep, BM, 'Masterpieces of Portrait Drawing' (no cat.)
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Sir A. Fountaine, thence by descent to the Fountaine family of Narford Hall, Norfolk.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number