BARTOLOMEO PASSEROTTI (BOLOGNA 1529-1592 ROME)
BARTOLOMEO PASSEROTTI (BOLOGNA 1529-1592 ROME)
BARTOLOMEO PASSEROTTI (BOLOGNA 1529-1592 ROME)
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BARTOLOMEO PASSEROTTI (BOLOGNA 1529-1592 ROME)
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BARTOLOMEO PASSEROTTI (BOLOGNA 1529-1592 ROME)

The Emperor Augustus; and the Emperor Claudius

Details
BARTOLOMEO PASSEROTTI (BOLOGNA 1529-1592 ROME)
The Emperor Augustus; and the Emperor Claudius
oil on canvas, unlined
33 ½ x 25 in. (85.1 x 63.5 cm.)
the first inscribed 'DIVVS AVGVSTVS PATER ▪/ CVM ANNOS LXXVI VIXISSET ▪/ REGNASSET LVI ▪/ VENENO EXTINGVITVR▪'; the second 'TI ▪ CLAVDIVS CAES ▪ AVG ▪/ SEXAGENARIVS ANNO ▪ IMPERII XIIII ▪ / TOXICO SVBLATVS / EST ▪'
a pair
Provenance
Private collection, France.

Brought to you by

Lucy Speelman
Lucy Speelman Junior Specialist

Lot Essay


These two canvases, hitherto unrecorded, are part of a series of portraits of Roman emperors made by Passerotti, circa 1580. The numerals on the back of the stretchers (II and V) indicate that the set was greater in number, though to date only two other works were known, portraits of Nero and Domitian (private collection), which share the same, original frames as those in the present lot. Such series clearly enjoyed popularity in the sixteenth century, perhaps the most renowned of which were Titian’s Twelve Emperors for Federico Gonzaga, known today through their many copies. The elegant Latin inscriptions beneath the portraits, as if chiselled on stone, claim that both Augustus and Claudius were poisoned, as some ancient historians, such as Tacitus, had written. We are grateful to Daniele Benati for confirming the attribution on the basis of photographs.

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