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ALESSANDRO ALLORI (FLORENCE 1535-1607) AND GIOVANNI MARIA BUTTERI (FLORENCE 1540-1606/08)
ALESSANDRO ALLORI (FLORENCE 1535-1607) AND GIOVANNI MARIA BUTTERI (FLORENCE 1540-1606/08)
ALESSANDRO ALLORI (FLORENCE 1535-1607) AND GIOVANNI MARIA BUTTERI (FLORENCE 1540-1606/08)
ALESSANDRO ALLORI (FLORENCE 1535-1607) AND GIOVANNI MARIA BUTTERI (FLORENCE 1540-1606/08)
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PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF A NOBLE FAMILY, ROME
ALESSANDRO ALLORI (FLORENCE 1535-1607) AND GIOVANNI MARIA BUTTERI (FLORENCE 1540-1606/08)

Portrait of Dianora Salviati, Marchesa Frescobaldi, full-length

Details
ALESSANDRO ALLORI (FLORENCE 1535-1607) AND GIOVANNI MARIA BUTTERI (FLORENCE 1540-1606/08)
Portrait of Dianora Salviati, Marchesa Frescobaldi, full-length
Inscribed 'Dianora Salviati Moglie di Bartolomeo de’ Frescobaldi Fece cinquantadue Figlioli e mai meno di tre per Parto. / Come riferisce Gio[vanni] Schenchio ne’ libri delle sue osservationi nuove, ammirabili, e mostrvosi, e cioè nel libro / quarto del Parto, a carte 144' (lower center)
oil on canvas
79 x 40 in. (200.6 x 101.6 cm.)
Provenance
(Possibly) Frescobaldi collection, Florence, from whom acquired in 1847 by,
(Possibly) Demidoff collection, Florence, their sale,
(Possibly) ['Collections de San Donato'], Boulevard des Italiens 26, Paris, 3 March 1870, lot 145, as Bronzino.
(Possibly) M.L. Trilha, Paris, by whom sold,
Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 18-19 December 1876, lot 8.
Emma Allori (1911-1989), Sanary sur Mer, and by descent to her daughters,
Elizabeth Irène Francine Valentin (1936-1991) and Josette Jacqueline Anne-Marie Valentin (1938-2017), and by whom bequeathed to the present owner in 2017.

Literature
(Possibly) D. Frescobaldi and F. Solinas, I Frescobaldi: Una famiglia Fiorentina, Florence, 2004, p. 113, no. 25.

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Lot Essay

A premier pupil of Alessandro Allori, Giovanni Maria Butteri and his brother had begun their careers as assistants to Agnolo Bronzino. Close in age to Bronzino’s informally adoptive son, Allori, Butteri was closely associated with both artists for his entire career (E. Pilliod, Pontormo, Bronzio, Allori: A Genealogy of Florentine Art, Hew Haven and London, 2001, pp. 170; 173-4). He was on Bronzino’s équipe for the 1565 wedding of Francesco se’ Medici with Joanna of Austria. He assisted Allori on numerous commissions, frescoing some parts of the Chapel of S. Giovanni Gualberto at Passignano in 1581; decorations for the Palazzo Salviati in Florence1574-81; and many other commissions (I.B. Supini, I Ricordi di Alessandro Allori, Florence, 1900; and A. Cherubini in Alessandro Pieroni dall’ Impruneta e I pittori della Loggia degli Uffizi, A. Bernacchioni ed., Florence, 2012, p. 100).

At least one other version of the Portrait of Dianora Salviati Frescobaldi is known, attesting to its fame in the 16th century. Several examples of the portrait were executed and at least one was originally in the Frescobaldi collection (loc. cit.). The present portrait would perfectly fit into the elaborate portrait gallery built up by the Frescobaldi that is studied in the monograph on the family. The fascination it held for viewers is likely due to the elaborate inscription at the bottom, in which it identifies the sitter and reports that she had had no less that fifty-two children (G. A. London, ‘An extreme of Human Fecundity,’ The Journal of Heredity 20, no. 4 (1929), p. 152).

The name of the author to which the inscription is attributed is an Italian transliteration of the name Johannes Theodor Schenck von Grafenberg (1530-1598), an important doctor, the municipal physician in Freiburg, who is credited with being the first to observe and document various medical conditions. His numerous publications include many editions of the title referred to on the portrait (D. Donald Beecher, ‘Concerning Sex Changes: The Cultural Significance of a Renaissance Medical Polemic,’ The Sixteenth Century Journal (2005), 36, no. 4, p. 1009). His ‘osservazioni’ were published many times from 1594 on.

The Portrait of Dianora Frescobaldi is very similar to a Portrait of a Noblewomen, Hartford, Wadsworth Athenaneum, attributed to Allori and dated 1574 (inv. no. 1988.14). They share the same hands, similar fringe on the curtain, similar angular face and the shape of the ear. A revealing point of comparison is the shimmering quality of the fabric in the dress. The attention to details such as the gold bands appliqued onto the underdress, the curls in the sitter’s hair are very similar. In these stylistic details the artist does not quite exhibit the linear, enamel-like, and sharply defined forms found in Allori’s works. However, it is also the case that Butteri so closely followed Allori’s style that he was capable of making identical copies of Allori’s inventions. Indeed, the historical circumstances of the creation of this portrait would strongly suggest that sort of scenario: At least two portraits of Dianora were painted: one for the Salviati and one for her new family, the Frescobaldi. In this case Allori and Butteri may well have worked on the portraits together.

Based on the details of the sitter’s dress, jewels, and hairstyle the portrait can be dated approximately 1580 to 1590. Dianora’s exact birth and death dates are not yet discovered, but she was likely a descendant of the 15th century line established by Jacopo Salviati as her name, Dianora, reflects the of Jacopo’s wife, Dianora Petribuoni, and was a family name down through the generations.

Dr. Elizabeth Pilliod

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