This hitherto unrecorded portrait of Erminia Santacroce Lancellotti can be compared with her portrait in the “Galleria delle Belle” of the Palazzo Chigi in Ariccia (see F. Petrucci, Ferdinand Voet (1639-1689), detto Ferdinando de’ Ritratti, Roma 2005, n. XII, p. 220).
Erminia Santacroce was born in Rome on 29 December 1647. She was the daughter of Scipione Santacroce and the Florentine Marchioness Ottavia Corsini. The Santacroce family was already included in the important Roman family registers of 1250. During the second half of the seventeenth century, it continued to maintain its place of prominence amongst the patrician families of Rome, producing three cardinals: Marcello, Antonio and Andrea. Erminia’s husband also came from one of Rome’s most prominent families, the Lancelotti. She married Marquise Ottavio Maria Lancellotti (1694-1702) on 11 September 1666, and the couple settled in the Palazzo Lancellotti in Piazza Navona. According to the marriage agreement, her dowry was set at fifteen thousand scudi. Ottavio became Conservatore di Roma in 1682. Erminia was included in her mother’s will of February 1679, along with her brother the Marquis Antonio Santacroce and her other siblings: Andrea who became an abbot, Costanza Maria, a nun at Tor de’ Specchi, Elena, Maria Drusilla and Claudia. The couple’s eldest son, Scipione (1668-1723), went on to marry Olimpia Ginnetti di Velletri, inheriting tittles and properties from the prominent Veliterna family.
We are grateful to Dr. Francesco Petrucci, curator of Palazzo Chigi, Comune di Ariccia, for confirming the attribution and for suggesting the identity of the sitter on the basis of photographs.