Pietro da Cortona: portrait of Cardinal Mazzarino


Florence, Palazzo Corsini

21- 29 September 2019


On the occasion of the Florence Biennale (21-29 September 2019), Moretti Fine Art is please to present a rediscovered portrait of Cardinal Mazzarino by Pietro da Cortona.

The portrait was ‘Notified’ in 1984 when in the Lazzaroni Collection in Turin although it had then been attributed to the Parmese painter Ilario Giacinto Mercanti, called lo Spolverini. The work, to which this catalogue is devoted, has now been fully published by Tomasso Montanari, as a masterpiece by one of the most important Italian painters of the Baroque period, Pietro da Cortona. As Tomaso Montanari notes, this attribution can be securely given, as it is based upon an understanding of Cortona’s individual manner of painting; the former mis-attribution being almost incredible today. 
Studying Giuliano Briganti’s magisterial work on the artist, Pietro da Cortona o della Barocca, published in 1962, (written without reference to our portrait), it is possible, judging little else than, say, the lower left corner of the portrait, to find meaningful comparisons to other works of this type by Cortona which prove, without question, its authenticity and extraordinary quality. Consider, for example, the table covered in red velvet decorated with gold braid, the foreshortened hand of the sitter pressed to the recently opened letter and the cardinal’s hat set aside in elegant neglect. And other details in this corner, such as the artist’s manner of rendering the white lace sleeve contrasted with the scarlet cape (mozzetta) or the golden edge of the richly painted violet curtain, can only speak of Pietro da Cortona’s rare genius in the realm of portraiture. 
July 26, 2019