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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Portrait of Andrea Quaratesi; head and shoulders turned to left, looking right. 1530 Black chalk, in some places retouched

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1530
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 410 millimetres
    • Width: 290 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    This portrait in black chalk represents Andrea Quaratesi (1512-1585), a young Florentine noble whose friendship with Michelangelo, from whom he took drawing classes, is documented in letters. Michelangelo undertook portraits unwillingly and then probably only at the subject's insistence. Quaratesi's gaze directly engages that of the viewer and his dress is rendered with a close eye for detail, seen, for example, in the buttons of the shirt worn beneath the tunic. There are pentimenti visible in the outline of the face (with unusual parallel lines extending to the l.), the cap (enlarged to the r.), and in the l. collar and shoulder. Wilde reattributed W59 from Bronzino to Michelangelo, a return to its status in the Malcolm collection. This reflects Wilde's studied reaction against the trend to reduce Michelangelo's corpus, causing Otto Kurz (1953) to observe, 'Perhaps we shall get used to it [the attribution of W59 to Michelangelo] after a time but the present reviewer must confess that he has so far not recovered from the initial shock'. Wilde's opinion has in general been upheld, for example, by Barocchi (1962), de Tolnay (1975), and Gere and Turner (1979), although rejected by Dussler (1959) and Hartt (1971). There are three copies of this portrait, one each in the Louvre, the Boymans Museum (Rotterdam), and the Uffizi (all reproduced in 'Rivista d'Arte', 1938, pp. 174 ff). That in the Uffizi is by Carlo Dolci (1616-1687), the major painter and portraitist of the Florentine Baroque; it contains the autograph inscription written by Giovanni Quaratesi, 'Questo disegno è copiato dall' originale quale è in casa del sig. Gio: Quaratesi et è di mano di Michelangelo et è il ritratto d' Andrea di Rinieri Quaratesi mio nonno e questo è di mano di Carlin Dolci fatto d' 1645'. Joannides (2003) gives the copy in the Louvre to Dolci: it is also in red chalk, a medium chosen, Joannides suggests, to make a clear differentiation from the original. It is of interest since the composition extends further at the bottom, showing the bend in the sitter's arm. For Wilde, the BM version is the only one in which there is 'complete harmony between form and graphic style' and is thus the original from which Dolci made his copy. De Tolnay concurs. The sophisticated technique of W59, consisting of a 'complex and laborious combination of fine parallel strokes and stippling', is judged by Wilde to be consistent with that evolved by Michelangelo in the later 1520s for his presentation sheets. He compares the 'rich gradation of chiaroscuro' with other drawings of c.1530, in particular 'The Labours of Hercules' and the 'Archers' at Windsor (de Tolnay 335 6), and Wilde 52, 54r and 58. In contast to the excellent condition of the Windsor drawings the present one is much rubbed and has been retouched in places - this may be a factor in the negative opinion it arouses for some critics. Dussler (1959) is unimpressed by the quality of execution of W59 and considers that Michelangelo's antipathy for portraiture, recorded by Vasari, tells against the artist's having produced a drawing of this genre. Wilde draws attention to some exceptions to Michelangelo's disinclination for portraiture, including, a red chalk drawing in the Casa Buonarroti (de Tolnay 83), he considers a study of individual features and expression, an opinion thought too subjective by Dussler. Furthermore, Vasari himself records Michelangelo as having produced a half length, life sized portrait of Tommasso de' Cavalieri. This drawing is now lost but Wilde considers that an early seventeenth century description of it when in the Farnese Collection (in the form of an annotation contained in an edition of Vasari's 'Vite') - 'fatto di matita nera e tratteggiato divinamente' suggests qualities apparent in the Quaratesi portrait. Joannides has recently suggested that a damaged drawing at Bayonne (595; Bean, 1960, no. 73) is Michelangelo's portrait of Tommaso de' Cavalieri (Joannides, 2003, under no. 107, p. 253).

    Vasari mentions two other portraits produced by Michelangelo, of the children of his servant, Urbino (identified by de Tolnay as being de Tolnay 330r and 331v). A pen and ink drawing in the Louvre (de Tolnay 118), discovered and first attributed to Michelangelo by Berenson, is not mentioned by Wilde but is considered an autograph self portrait by de Tolnay and Hirst (1988). Recently Joannides has given the portrait to Baccio Bandinelli (2003, no. R27, pp. 398-400). Vasari's ignorance of this portrait and the absence of contemporary copies suggests (Chapman 2005, p. 211) that the Quaratesi family kept it hidden for fear it would be taken from them.
    Lit.: J.C. Robinson, 'Descriptive Catalogue of Drawings by the Old Masters, forming the Collection of John Malcolm of Poltalloch, Esq.', London, 1876, no. 82* (the asterix denoting it was bought after the end of Robinson's involvement with the Malcolm collection); O.H. Giglioli, 'Un ritratto di Andrea di Rinieri Quaratesi attribuito a Michelangelo', "Rivista d'arte", XX, 1938, pp. 174-81; J. Wilde, 'Italian Drawings in the BM, Michelangelo and his Studio', London, 1953, no. 59, pp. 96-8 (with further literature); O. Kurz, 'Review of Wilde 'Italian Drawings...'', 'The Burlington Magazine', XCV, September 1953, p. 301; L. Dussler, 'Die Zeichnungen des Michelangelo', Berlin, 1959, no. 577 (as apocryphally attributed to Michelangelo), pp. 263-4; J. Bean, 'Bayonne, Musée Bonnat: les dessins italiens de la collection Bonnat', Paris, 1960, under no. 73; P. Barocchi, 'Michelangelo e la sua scuola: i disegni di Casa Buonarroti e degli Uffizi', Florence, 1962, I, under no. 122 (= de Tolnay 301), pp. 151-3; F. Hartt, 'The Drawings of Michelangelo', London, 1971, p. 380; J.A. Gere and N. Turner, in exhib. cat., London, BM, 'Drawings by Michelangelo', 1975, no. 119, p. 101; C. de Tolnay, in exhib. cat., Florence Casa Buonarroti and Galleria degli Uffizi, 'I disegni di Michelangelo nelle collezioni italiane', 1975, under no. 103 (= CB 32A v), p. 72; C de Tolnay , 'Corpus dei disegni di Michelangelo', Novara, 1976, II, no. 329; J.A.Gere and N. Turner, in exhib. cat., New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, 'Drawings by Michelangelo from the BM', 1979, no. 17, pp. 82-4; N. Turner, in exhib. cat., London, BM, 'Florentine Drawings of the sixteenth century', 1986, no. 85, p. 121; M. Hirst, 'Michelangelo and His Drawings', New Haven and London, 1988, pp. 11, 111; C. Gould, 'A New Portrait Attribution by Michelangelo', "Master Drawings", XXVII, Winter 1989, pp. 303-309, fig. 3; M. Marongiu, in exhib. cat. (L. Bardeschi Ciulich and P. Ragionieri eds), Florence, Casa Buonarroti, 'Vita di Michelangelo', 2001, ill. under no. 54 (= Uffizi copy, Dolci), p. 86; P. Joannides, 'Inventaire général des dessins italiens, Musée du Louvre, Cabinet des Dessins: Michel-Ange, élèves et copistes', Paris, 2003, under no. 107 (= copy, Carlo Dolci), pp. 251-2; H. Chapman, in exhib. cat., BM, 'Michelangelo Drawings: closer to the master', 2005, no. 70, pp. 209, 211; C. Van Cleave, 'Master Drawings of the Italian Renaissance', London, 2007, p. 124


  • Bibliography

    • Wilde 1953 59 bibliographic details
    • JCR 82 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (Italian Roy XVIc)

  • Exhibition history

    1964 BM, 'Michelangelo', no. 43 1965 BM, 'Masterpieces of the Print Room', (no cat.) 1972 BM, 'The Art of Drawing', no. 152 1974 Jul-Dec, BM, 'Portrait Drawings', no. 45 1975 Feb-Apr, BM, 'Drawings by Michelangelo', no. 183 1979 Apr-Jul, New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, 'Drawings by Michelangelo', no. 21 1986 BM, 'Florentine Drawings 16thC', no. 85 1992 Oct-Dec, Norwich, Sainsbury Centre, UEA, 'Florentine Drawings' 2005/6 Oct-Jan, Haarlem, Teylers Museum, 'Michelangelo Drawings: Closer to the Master' 2006 Mar-Jun, BM, 'Michelangelo Drawings: Closer to the Master'

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Malcolm acquired from Addington 15.ii.1867 as Bronzino for £70-7-0

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


Portrait of Andrea Quaratesi; head and shoulders turned to l, looking r, wearing a beret. 1530 Black chalk, on grey prepared paper, in some places rubbed away and here and there retouched Cut into on all four sides. Sheet originally folded across the middle. Several filled-in worm holes and two larger restorations at the top

Portrait of Andrea Quaratesi; head and shoulders turned to l, looking r, wearing a beret. 1530 Black chalk, on grey prepared paper, in some places rubbed away and here and there retouched Cut into on all four sides. Sheet originally folded across the middle. Several filled-in worm holes and two larger restorations at the top

Image description



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