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Francesco Simonini (Parma 1686-c.1755 Venice or Florence) and Giuseppe Nogari (Venice 1699-1766)
Property of an Estate
Francesco Simonini (Parma 1686-c.1755 Venice or Florence) and Giuseppe Nogari (Venice 1699-1766)

Equestrian portrait of Field Marshal Count Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg, full-length, in a red coat and a breastplate, on a grey mare, before a siege

Details
Francesco Simonini (Parma 1686-c.1755 Venice or Florence) and Giuseppe Nogari (Venice 1699-1766)
Equestrian portrait of Field Marshal Count Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg, full-length, in a red coat and a breastplate, on a grey mare, before a siege
oil on canvas
77¾ x 56½ in. (197.5 x 143.5 cm.)
Provenance
Painted for the sitter and recorded in the Inventario Generale de tutta la Galleria di Sua Eccellenza, 4 May 1737 ('Quadro Rappresenta Ritratto di S.E. Marescial à Cavallo. Il ritratto fatto dal Nogari et il cavallo co suoi Ferminti e La Battaglia fatta dal Simonini Battaglista', Binion, 1990, p. 122, note 18); in the Inventario Generale della Galleria, 30 May 1738 ('Altro Ritratto del medesimo sopra un caval Grigo con il capello in Testa, Costo 100', ibid., p. 215); in the Inventario Generale della Galleria, 30 June 1741, ('Ritratto del sud.o sopra un caval griggio con Capello in Testa 6ta spne, ibib., p. 238); and in the Quadri e Ritratti Essistenti nelle differenti Camere del Palazzo, Venice, August 1747 in the Portico, as Simonini ('Un Ritratto di Sua Ecc.za sopra un Cavallo bianco con il Baston di Commando in mano con battaglia al di sotto e Fortezza', valued at 150, ibid., p. 255), and given en bloc with the rest of his collection to his nephew
Christian Günther von der Schulenburg, Hehlen and Berlin, by whom transported from Venice, 1747.
A member of the Schulenburg family; Sotheby's, London, 23 June 1982, lot 69 (£17,000).
Anonymous sale; Finarte, Milan, 27 November 1984, lot 73.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 10 July 1998, lot 80 (£111,500 to the present owner).
Literature
A. Morassi, 'Francesco Simonini, ein Schlachtenmaler des Settecento', Pantheon, XIX, 1960, p. 3.
A. Binion, 'From Schulenburg's Gallery and Records', The Burlington Magazine, CXII, 1970, p. 298.
A. Binion, La Galleria Scomparsa dal Maresciallo von der Schulenberg, Milan, 1990, pp. 38, 121-122 n. 18, 154, 215, 238 and 255, fig. 14.
R. Pallucchini, La pittura nel Veneto: Il Settecento, I, Milan, 1995, p. 273, fig. 452.
R. Pallucchini, La pittura nel Veneto: Il Settecento, II, Milan, 1996, p. 339, fig. 519.

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Lot Essay

Count Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg (1661-1747) became Field Marshal and Commander in Chief of the Forces of the Venetian Republic in 1715. His defense of Corfu against the Turks in 1715-1716 made him a hero to the Venetians, who erected a statue in his honor and granted him a life pension. He established himself at Palazzo Loredan near San Trovaso in Venice, where in 1724, at the age of sixty-three, he found himself in possession of a group of eighty-eight paintings, mainly from the collections of the Dukes of Mantua, which were ceded to him by a dealer named Giovanni Battista Rota who had defaulted on a loan. This awakened a voracious appetite for collecting and in the remaining two decades of his life he amassed nearly a thousand pictures. Ably assisted by his advisors, first Pittoni and then Piazzetta, Schulenburg acquired works by almost all the leading Venetian painters of his day. His purchases accelerated in the 1730s, and in 1735 he began to send regular shipments to his estates in Germany. A bachelor, he bequeathed the whole of his vast collection to his nephew, with the request that it be preserved intact. Though much of the collection was dispersed as early as 1775, the present work remained in the Schulenburg family for nearly two hundred and fifty years.

Simonini was the leading Venetian battle painter of the early 18th century, and was a natural choice as collaborator for the present portrait, commissioned in 1737, of this outstanding soldier in the Venetian service. Portraits by Nogari are unusual and this is unquestionably the most ambitious.

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