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

Portrait of a Man

Photo: Paul Macapia

Portrait of a Man

ca. 1550

Girolamo da Carpi

Italian, 1501- ca. 1556

This formal portrait proclaims the sitter’s status and wealth: his left hand rests on the pommel of a ceremonial sword; a jeweled ring shines from his right hand. The fur-trimmed costume and prominent positioning of his arms amplify the man’s physical presence as he supports himself on a Roman-style curule chair signifying authority. We do not know who this self-possessed personality is, but these details suggest that he was part of the circle of power in papal Rome, where Girolamo da Carpi worked from 1550-53.

The artist was a painter and architect for the Este family in the northern court town of Ferrara and relocated to Rome when one of the Este family members, a cardinal with the Catholic Church, moved there.
Oil on canvas
43 x 32 1/2 in. (109.2 x 82.6 cm)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
Provenance: Earl Wemyss, Gosford House, Longniddry, Scotland [1]; [Wildenstein & Co., New York (exhibited: Italian Old Masters and German Primitives, Art Gallery, Toronto, Jan 1931, no. 23 of catalogue, as Romanino; European Paintings by Old and Modern Masters, Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, CA, June 13-Aug. 15, 1934, no. 2 of catalogue, as Romanino)]; purchased from Wildenstein by Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York, October 30, 1947; Seattle Art Museum, since 1952, accessioned 1961 (published, European Painting and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1954, p. 46, as Girolamo Romani, called Romanino) [1] Probably Hugo Richard Charteris, 11th Earl of Wemyss (1857-1937), who sold other pictures from the family collection via Wildenstein and other New York dealers in the late 1920s.
Photo: Paul Macapia
Now on view at the Seattle Art Museum


Exhibition HistoryToronto, Canada, Toronto Art Gallery, Italian Old Masters and German Primitives, Jan. 1931.

Los Angeles, Calif., Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art, European Paintings by Old and Modern Masters, June-Aug., 1934.

New York, Wildenstein & Co., Italian Paintings, Jan. 15- Feb. 15, 1947.

Seattle, Wash., Seattle Art Museum, Italian Art: Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1952. Text by William Suida and Sherman Lee. Cat. no. 17, pp. 7, 19 (as Gerolamo Romani/Romanino).

Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, The Age of Correggio and the Carracci: Emilian Painting of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, Dec. 19, 1986-Feb. 16, 1987 (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mar. 26-May 24, 1987; Bologna, Italy, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Sept. 10-Nov. 10, 1986). Text by Emanuele Mattaliano. Cat. no. 21, p. 86.

Ottawa, Canada, National Gallery of Canada, From Raphael to the Carracci: The Art of Papal Rome, May 29-Sept. 6, 2009. Text by Philippe Costamagna et al. Cat. no. 62, pp. 236-237.

Published ReferencesSuida, William and Richard Fuller. European Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. Seattle, Wash.: Seattle Art Museum, 1954; p. 46, reproduced p. 47.

Shapley, Fern Rusk. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection, Italian Schools XV-XVI Century. London, England: Phaidon Press, 1968; no. K1436, p. 82, fig. 200.

Ishikawa, Chiyo. The Samuel H. Kress Collection at the Seattle Art Museum. Seattle, Wash.: Seattle Art Museum, 1997; pp. 70, 72, fig. 46.

Old Master Paintings Evening Sale. Auction Catalogue. London, U.K.: Sotheby's, December 3, 2008; reproduced p. 90.

Ishikawa, Chiyo. "Seattle Art Museum." In Italian Treasures in the U.S.: An Itinerary of Art. Edited by Renato Miracco. Rome, Italy: Gangemi Editore International Publishing, 2015; p. 200.

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

Learn more about Equity at SAM