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Tommaso Manzuoli, called Maso da San Friano (Florence 1531-1571)
THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN 
Tommaso Manzuoli, called Maso da San Friano (Florence 1531-1571)

Portrait of a man, half-length, in a grey coat and mantle, holding a handkerchief

Details
Tommaso Manzuoli, called Maso da San Friano (Florence 1531-1571)
Portrait of a man, half-length, in a grey coat and mantle, holding a handkerchief
oil on panel
29 x 22 3/8 in. (73.5 x 56.8 cm.)

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Alexis Ashot
Alexis Ashot

Lot Essay

Giorgio Vasari states that Pierfrancesco Foschi was the mentor of Maso di San Friano, and this would explain the origins of the simple and severe structure so characteristic of Maso's paintings. Maso reinvents Pontormo's thin, elongated types and creates compositions of a sophisticated post-Tridentine simplicity. His style was informed but did not follow the flamboyant mannerism of Vasari or Tosini, or the jewel-like elegance of Bronzino, and he was one of the few painters not to associate with these successful workshops.

This elegant portrait, once thought to be by Michele di Ridolfo, can be closely compared to the drawing in the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung in Munich, tentatively included by Peter Cannon-Brookes as an autograph work in his Ph.D. on the painter (fig. 1; see P. Cannon-Brookes, The paintings and drawings of Maso da San Friano, Ph.D. thesis, London, Courtauld Institute of Art, 1968, pp. 174-5). The resemblance is strong, and indeed the two works might be related; they are certainly by the same hand and of the same date. The unfinished state of the painting indicates it may be a late work, close to 1571, the year of Maso's death. Alessandro Fei was also active in these years, and an attribution to him cannot be completely ruled out.

At the end of his life, Maso da San Friano painted the splendid, surreal Diamond Mine, for the Studiolo of Francesco I in the Palazzo Vecchio, a small and eccentric room created under the supervision of Vasari and Borghini for the Grand Duke, for which Maso is best remembered.

We are grateful to Peter Cannon-Brookes for his assistance in cataloguing this lot, after inspection of the original, and for pointing out the strong relationship between the picture and the drawing in Munich.

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