Cardinal Roberto Ubaldini, (1581-1635), Papal Legate to Bologna

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Cardinal Roberto Ubaldini, (1581-1635), Papal Legate to Bologna

Italy, 1627
Paintings
Oil on canvas
Canvas: 77 1/2 × 58 3/4 in. (196.85 × 149.23 cm) Frame: 92 × 72 × 4 in. (233.68 × 182.88 × 10.16 cm)
Gift of The Ahmanson Foundation (M.83.109)
Not currently on public view

Curator Notes

Guido Reni studied at the influential academy founded by the Caracci in Bologna, a school that expounded a style uniting the classicizing characteristics of the great masters of the preceding generati...
Guido Reni studied at the influential academy founded by the Caracci in Bologna, a school that expounded a style uniting the classicizing characteristics of the great masters of the preceding generation, among them Raphael, Tintoretto, Titian, and Correggio. Like them, Reni drew on history, mythology, and religion for subjects for his narrative paintings, the kind most prestigious and in demand during his time. Nevertheless he completed several portrait commissions; his depiction of Cardinal Roberto Ubaldino is one of the most vivid formal portraits of the seventeenth century. It may show the influence of van Dyke's celebrated portrait style. The cardinal's pose is traditional, established by Raphael's and Titian's earlier portraits of popes. In its clear and carefully balanced composition the work emulates paintings by Raphael, Reni's idol, yet the cardinal is not idealized. Reni's desire for classical idealization is balanced by a seventeenth-century literalness that attempted a faithful transcription of the cardinal's physical and psychological presence. A cousin of Pope Leo XI and an envoy of Pope Paul V, Cardinal Ubaldino, a subtle and astute diplomat, was papal nuncio to Paris in the early 1620s. He may have commissioned this portrait for the Jubilee of 1625. The cardinal is portrayed before a theatrical swag of drapery; a grand arcade recedes into the distance, providing a view of a formal garden and the park beyond. The setting, accessories, and brilliant play of reds and scarlets combined with the superb rendering of delicate lace contribute to an image of the cardinal as a man of refinement and power.
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Provenance

The sitter’s estate 1636, by inheritance to his brother;(1) Octaviano Ubaldini (1588–1632), to his brother’s wife and heir; Maria Isabella Accoramboni (d.

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The sitter’s estate 1636, by inheritance to his brother;(1) Octaviano Ubaldini (1588–1632), to his brother’s wife and heir; Maria Isabella Accoramboni (d. 1672), Rome, by inheritance to her nephew; Marchese Mario Accoramboni,(2) Rome; by inheritance to his son; Ugo Accoramboni Octavian,(3) Rome, in 1694;(4) by inheritance 1719 to his son;(5) Mario Accoramboni, by descent to; Marchese Filippo Accoramboni, Rome, by inheritance to his widow; Marchesa Virginia Ossoli Vedova Accoramboni, Rome, in 1802.(6) Dr. Somerville, England, 1821. George James Welbore Agar-Ellis (1797–1833), 1st Baron Dover, Dover House, London, by inheritance to his widow; Georgiana Howard (d. 1860), Lady Dover, Dover House, London, by inheritance to her son; Henry Agar-Ellis (1825–1866), 3rd Viscount Clifden,(7) Lanhydrock House, Cornwall, England, by inheritance to his son; Henry George Agar-Ellis (1863–1895), 4th Viscount Clifden, Lanhydrock House, Cornwall, England (sale, London, Christie’s, 6 May 1893, lot 29, unsold),(8) (sale, London, Robinson and Fisher, 25 May 1895, lot 731, sold for £430.1 to); [Frank T. Sabin, London].(9) Robert Walton Goelet(10) (1880–1941), Ochre Court, Newport, RI, bequeathed with his Newport estate to; Salve Regina College, Newport, RI (sale, Newport, RI, 5 Dec. 1947, withdrawn). (Sale, New York, Sotheby’s, 21 Jan. 1982, lot 87, as "circle of Guido Reni," sold for $5,000 to);(11) [Bracaglie, Rome]. [Colnaghi, London and New York, sold 1983 to]; LACMA.

Footnotes

(1) According to Jennifer Montagu, "there are two Ubaldini inventories, the second of which is apparently a continuation of the first, made for his residuary legatee, the Propaganda Fide. Both are in the Archivio di Stato, Rome, Notaro della Tribunale dell’Auditor Camerae, Belgius. The first begins on 26 April 1636 and is in vol. 696, fols. 751–806; the second begins on 4 May and is in vol. 697, fols. 103–15v, 156–65r" (letter dated 22 April 1987, Reni object file, Department of European Painting and Sculpture, LACMA). Vol. 696, fol. 757v (Nella stanzino che responde sopra alla strada del Borgo S[anto] Sp[irt]o): "Un altro quadro grande di d[ett]o Card[inal]e a sedere di Guido Reno con cornice di legno rauescate d’oro." Two other unattributed portraits of the cardinal are also mentioned.

(2) Mario was the son of her brother Fabio Accoramboni.

(3) Included in the 1694 list published in De Marchi 1987, p. 64. The introduction to the inventory of Ugo’s estate in 1719 notes that Ugo Accoramboni Octavian, the son of Mario, came into the possession of the collection following the death of the father of the entail established by his greataunt Maria Isabella, wife and heir of Octavian Ubaldini. Ugo was appointed conservator of Rome in the years 1686, 1695, and 1704. On 8 November 1707 he married Frances, daughter of the marquis Giovanni Battista of the Dragon. They gave birth to Ugo, Mario, Andrea, and Fabio. Inventory of assets (A.C., sec. Not. XII, 53, not. F. Floridus, 22 May 1719; entered into the Getty Provenance Index, Archival Inventory Database I-614).

(4) Exhibited in Rome in 1694, lent from his collection: "Rittrato dei ard. Ubaldini, di Guido Reni."

(5) "Inventario de Beni ritrovati nella sua Eredità, doppo la morte dell’Illmo Sig.r Marchese Ugo Ottaviano Accoromboni," fol. 140: "Un ritratto di Card.le Ubaldini a. sedere, originale di Guido Reno [sic], con Cornice ant.a liscia tutta dorata." A second portrait of Ubaldini is recorded as a copy after Reni on fol. 139: "Un altro ritratto del Card. Le Ubaldini, copia di quello di Guido, con Cornice nera antica filettata di oro" (from the Archivio di Stato, Rome [Trenta Notai Capitolini, Ufficio 1, vol. 402, fols. 136–230v], as recorded in the Getty Provenance Index, Archival Inventory Database.

(6) "Un quadro rapresentate il ritratto del Cardinale Ubaldini che si crede di Guido." The inventory, which was one of the inventories of Roman private collections ordered by the pope on 2 October 1802, includes a number of portraits of Duca Ubaldini, as well as an "altro rapresentant un Cardinale" (Rome 1995, pp. 77–78).

(7) Henry Agar-Ellis was the grandson of Henry Agar-Ellis, 2nd Viscount Clifden.

(8) As Pepper 1984, p. 151, noted, the sale catalogue entry incorrectly states: "From the Spada Palace, Rome. Bought in for Mr. Irving, through Mr. Yates, the picture dealer." Pepper identifies Irving as William Buchanan’s associate, who was a wellknown importer of pictures from Italy. No mention of the painting appears in Buchanan 1824.

(9) Frank Sabin’s obituary in the Burlington Magazine 28 (Nov. 1915): 81, notes, "the bulk of his trading was done with America." The firm Frank T. Sabin was established in 1848 when Jos. Sabin (1821– 1881) moved from England to New York City and started trading under the name J. Sabin & Sons in 1867. In 1870 Jos.’s second son, Frank T. Sabin, returned to London, where he established a branch office of J. Sabin & Sons.

(10) Robert Walton Goelet was a wealthy New York landlord and socialite, who inherited a fortune estimated to be $40 million when his mother died in 1915. His mansion, Ochre Court, built in 1892 for $4.5 million by his uncle Ogden Goelet, was the second largest mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, exceeded in size only by the Breakers.

(11) The sale catalogue notes: "This painting is a replica of a work by Guido Reni in the B. Guinness collection, England." The painting was reported to have been very dirty when it was brought up at the sale and doubted by Sotheby’s experts, as well as Stephen Pepper, all of whom later came to recognize it as a major work by Guido Reni himself. See "Reni Reattributed" 1983.

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Bibliography

  • The Age of Correggio and the Carracci : Emilian Painting of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1986.
  • Caroselli, Susan L., ed. Guido Reni: 1575-1642.  Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1988.
  • The Age of Correggio and the Carracci : Emilian Painting of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1986.
  • Caroselli, Susan L., ed. Guido Reni: 1575-1642.  Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1988.
  • Henning, Andreas, and Scott Schaefer, eds. Captured Emotions: Baroque Painting in Bologna, 1575-1725. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2008.

  • Nell'Etá di Correggio e dei Carracci: Pittura in Emilia dei Secoli XVI e XVII. Bologna: Pinacoteca Nazionale, 1986.
  • L'Opera Completa di Guido Reni. Milan: Rizzoli Editore, 1971.
  • Pepper, Stephen. Guido Reni: L'Opera Completa. Novara: Istituto Geografico de Agostini, 1988.
  • Lehmbeck, Leah, editor. Gifts of European Art from The Ahmanson Foundation. Vol. 1, Italian Painting and Sculpture. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2019.
  • Pepper, Stephen. Guido Reni: A Complete Catalogue of His Works with an Introductory Text. New York: New York University Press, 1984.
  • Phil Freshman.  Los Angeles County Museum of Art Report, July 1, 1981-June 30, 1983.  Los Angeles:  Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1984.
  • Schaefer, Scott, and Peter Fusco. European Painting and Sculpture in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art: an Illustrated Summary Catalogue. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1987.
  • Price, Lorna.  Masterpieces from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  Los Angeles:  Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1988.
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art Members' Calendar 1988,  vol. 25-26, no. 12-1 (December, 1987-January, 1989).
  • Conisbee, Philip et al. The Ahmanson Gifts: European Masterpieces in the Collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1991.


  • Bacchi, Andrea, Catherine Hess, and Jennifer Montagu, eds. Bernini and the Birth of Baroque Portrait Sculpture. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust, 2008.

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