Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Seattle Art Museum (SAM)
menu

Charles d'Amboise

Photo: Paul Macapia

Charles d'Amboise

ca. 1505

Bernardino de' Conti

Italian, Milan, ca. 1470 - ca. 1522

The French nobleman Charles d’Amboise became the governor of the Duchy of Milan after it was conquered by France. The collar of scallop shells and knots denotes the Order of Saint Michael, granted to him about 1505, perhaps the occasion for commissioning this portrait.

D’Amboise was a friend and patron of Leonardo da Vinci, but he hired a more conservative artist for his portrait and chose to be portrayed in a classic profile view, which records his features but provides no psychological insight. He most likely wanted to link his image with the great rulers of the ancient past, depicted in side views on coins and medals like those shown in the case nearby. D’Amboise himself was an avid coin collector, as he proudly demonstrates here.
Oil on panel
13 3/4 x 12 1/2 in. (34.9 x 31.8 cm)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
61.150
Provenance: King Henry VIII of England (1491-1547), by 1542 (as listed in Westminster Palace wardrobe accounts); by inheritence to King Edward VI of England (1537-1553); by inheritence to Mary I, Queen of England (1516-1558); by inheritence to Elizabeth I, Queen of England (1533-1603); by inheritence to James I, King of England (1566-1625), by inheritence to Charles I, King of England (1600-1649) (mentioned in the Inventory of the Collection of Charles I, published by Vertue, 1757, thought to represent the valiant Scottish Earl Douglas, called Black Dudley); [probably Charles I (Commonwealth) sale, 1649-1651]; John Sholto Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry (1844-1900) (exhibited National Portrait exhibition, South Kensington Museum, London, 1866, no. 12, as portrait of James, Earl of Douglas, by an unknown artist); [Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, by 1866 (exhibited, National Portrait exhibition, South Kensington Museum, London, 1866, no. 12, as "portrait of James, Earl of Douglas, by an unknown artist); Charles Alexander Douglas-Home, 12th Earl of Home (1834-1918), the Hirsel, Borders, Scotland, by 1909 (exhibited, Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1909, no. 47, as “An Italian Nobleman” by Bernardino de’Conti); [Frank T. Sabin (d. 1915), London]; [Paul Drey, New York]; purchased from Drey’s by Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York, 1948 (exhibited Themes and Variations, Baltimore Museum of Art , Apr 15-May 23 1948, p. 12 of catalogue; Leonarda da Vinci, Los Angeles Country Museum , Los Angeles, CA, June 3- July 17 1949, no. 45 of catalogue by W.E. Suida); Seattle Art Museum, since 1952, accessioned 1961
Photo: Paul Macapia
location
Now on view at the Seattle Art Museum

Media

Resources

Exhibition HistoryLondon, South Kensington Museum, National Portrait Exhibition, 1866. Cat. no. 12 (as Portrait of James, Earl of Douglas, by an unknown artist).

London, Burlington Fine Arts Club, 1909. No. 47 (as An Italian Nobleman).

Baltimore, Md., Baltimore Museum of Art, Themes and Variations in Painting and Sculpture, Apr. 15-May 23, 1948. Text by Gertrude Rosenthal. Cat. no. 3, p. 12, reproduced.

Los Angeles, Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art, Leonardo da Vinci: Loan Exhibition, June 3-July 17, 1949. Text by William Suida. No. 45, p. 93.

Seattle, Wash., Seattle Art Museum, Italian Painting and Sculptures: Samuel H. Kress Collection, June 24-Oct. 5, 1952. Text by William Suida and Sherman Lee. Cat. no. 12, pp. 6, 15-16.

Seattle, Wash., Seattle Art Museum, Leonardo Lives: The Codex Leicester and Leonardo Da Vinci's Legacy of Art and Science, Oct. 23, 1997-Jan. 4, 1998. Text by Trevor Fairbrother and Chiyo Ishikawa. Cat. no. 9, pp. 28-30, fig. 11.
Published ReferencesVertue, George. A Catalogue and Description of King Charles the First’s Capital Collection. London: Printed for W. Bathoe, 1757; no. 6, p. 108 (at the Privy Gallery, Whitehall).

“Inventory No. 1: The Inventory of 1542.” In Three Inventories, of the Years 1542, 1547 and 1549-50, of Pictures in the Collections of Henry VIII & Edward VI. Edited by William Arthur Shaw. London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1937; p. 43.

“Inventory No. 2: The Edwardian Inventory of 1547.” In Three Inventories, of the Years 1542, 1547 and 1549-50, of Pictures in the Collections of Henry VIII & Edward VI. Edited by William Arthur Shaw. London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1937; entry no. 109 (at Westminster).

"The Great Kress Giveaway." LIFE (November 16, 1953): p. 155.

Suida, William and Richard Fuller. European Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. Seattle: Seattle Art Museum, 1954; p. 42, illus. p. 43.

Shapley, Fern Rusk. Paintings From the Samuel H. Kress Collection: Italian Schools XIII-XV Century. London: Phaidon Press for the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1966; no. K1591, pp. 133-134, fig. 319, back of panel reproduced on p. 149.

Trutty-Coohill, Patricia. "Studies in the School of Leonardo Da Vinci." Ph.D. diss., Penn State University, 1982.

Sueur, Hélène, et al. Italies: Peintures des musées de la region Centre. Exh. Cat. Paris: Somogy, 1996; p. 116, reproduced.

Ishikawa, Chiyo. The Samuel H. Kress Collection at the Seattle Art Museum. Seattle: Seattle Art Museum, 1997; fig. 44, pp. 68-70.