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A whole family of portraits evidently springs more or less directly from this sketch. Such are the pictures of the Giovio collection, of the Uffizi Gallery (a profile), Vasari's fresco in the Palazzo Vecchio at Florence, and possibly also the engraving in his Vite.
None of Leonardo's biographers have devoted any serious attention to, or even mentioned, the first of these portraits—that which Paolo Giovio, the celebrated historian, caused to be painted for his museum at Como, and which he hung beside those of Michelangelo, Andrea del Sarto, and Valerio Vicentino. In this picture, Leonardo was represented with his long beard (“con quel suo volto barbato"), and consequently in mature manhood. The portrait remained at Como, in the possession of the Giovio family, until the close of the last century. It may, indeed, be there still. The litigation now in progress in the family renders any verification of the fact somewhat difficult.
It matters little, after all, whether this point is cleared up or not. I am able to point to a faithful reproduction of the effigy in the “Musæum Jovianum.” Here, again, we are struck by the carelessness of the “ Leonardists." Not one of them has bestowed so much as a glance on the portrait in profile in the Uffizi Gallery, a painting on canvas, of very mediocre quality it must be confessed. Yet a mere examination of the size of the canvas, its external characteristics, and the inscription upon it, involves its recognition as one of the numerous copies of pictures in the Giovio Museum executed during and after 1552, by the Florentine painter, Cristofano dell'Altissimo, at the command of Cosimo de' Medici I. All these copies bear an unmistakable family likeness to each other.
But we have something better than this. The portrait in the Giovio collection, as we know it through the Uffizi copy, was used as the basis of another, which has likewise been overlooked until the
present moment :—that which figures in the fresco in which Vasari has represented the Court of Leo X. (Sala di Leone X., Palazzo Vecchio, Florence). In this Leonardo is shown bare-headed, in profile to the
passed into the Louvre from the Modena Gallery during the Revolution, and was returned on Sept. 28, 1815 to Herr Rosa, the commissioner appointed by Austria to receive back the spoils of our conquests? This drawing has since disappeared. It may have been a replica of the Windsor portrait. (Rigollot, Catalogue, p. 104.)
left, beside his patron Giuliano de' Medici (not Lorenzo, as Vasari has incorrectly printed it.)The relations known to have existed between Vasari and Paolo Giovio sufficiently account for the use made by the painter of the evidences, pictorial or documentary, collected by his friend.
These portraits, blurred and darkened as they are, are clearly related to that in the Windsor Library, for the authentication of which they would suffice, if that precious original needed any such demonstration.
The profile portrait engraved in Vasari's Vite (1568) seems to be derived from the same source. It represents an old man, with long hair and beard, the head covered by a sort of cap, which leaves the forehead bare, and comes down over the ears. The artist seems to have taken more pains to inveni a striking fancy head, than to reproduce any special physiognomy.
Vasari's engraving, in its turn, inspired a medal, of the early seventeenth century, reproduced by Mazzuchelli, which nobody has been able to discover. On the face was a profile of Leonardo, looking to the left, with the inscription, “ Leonardus Vincius Florentinus ; ” on the reverse, “Scribit quam suscitat artem ”; with a pen and brush in saltire below a crown.
This same engraving of Vasari's, so strange and so incorrect, seems to have influenced the painter of a portrait in oils on panel (in profile to the left, exactly like the engraving of 1568), which passed, in 1855, from the Guiducci gallery at Florence, into the hands of the painter and picture-dealer Gagliardi, and from his into those of Orazio Buggiani, a Florentine merchant established in London.
But let us come back to Leonardo's own portraits of himself. A second, full face, preserved in the King's Library at Turin, shows us the changes wrought by age in the illustrious artist.2
1 Here is Vasari's own declaration : “Quel vecchio con quella zazzera inanellata e canuta, Leonardo da Vinci, grandissimo maestro di pittura e scultura, che parla col Duca Lorenzo che gli è allato," vol. viii., p. 159.
2 A red chalk copy of the Turin portrait is preserved in the Accademia delle belle Arti at Venice (Braun, no. 44). This copy is harder and poorer than the original. Vasari's annotators have blundered (vol. iv., p. 36) in cataloguing the Turin drawing and that at Venice as two distinct portraits. One is a copy of the other. The catalogue of the King of Holland's collection (1850) mentions (no. 263) a portrait of the artist, and a head of a warrior in profile, drawn in Italian chalk and with the pen. " These fine