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Overview

This work represents one of the first independent portrait busts made in Europe since antiquity, reflecting Mino da Fiesole's reinvention of the portrait bust as an artistic type, first in Florence and then elsewhere.

A Latin inscription carved on the underside identifies the subject and artist: "Astorgio Manfredi II, lord of Faenza, 42 years old, 1455, the work of Nino." Astorgio by this time had been ruler of Faenza for seven years and a military commander for almost 25. He is immortalized with starkly unidealized realism, his power conveyed by a brocaded mantle over field armor consisting of a chain mail shirt and metal breast plate fastened with a worn leather strap.

Inscription

on bottom and inside of base: ASTORGIVS.MANFREDVS./ SECVDVS.FAVENTIE.DOMINVS / ANNO.XLII.ETATIS.SVE / 1455 / OPVS.NINI

Provenance

Louis-Charles Timbal [1821-1880], Paris.[1] Baron Arthur de Schickler [1828-1919], Paris, and Martinvast, Normandy (near Cherbourg); by inheritance to his daughter, Marguerite, Comtesse Hubert de Pourtalès [1870-1956], Paris, and Martinvast, Normandy; sold April 1919 to (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris) in part-share agreement with (Wildenstein & Co., Inc., New York) and (Arnold Seligmann & Co., Paris);[2] inheritance from Estate of Peter A.B. Widener by gift through power of appointment of Joseph E. Widener, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, after purchase 13 January 1922 by funds of the Estate;[3] gift 1942 to NGA.

Exhibition History
1976
Masterpieces of World Art from American Museums from Ancient Egyptian to Contemporary Art, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo; The Kyoto National Museum, Japan, 1976, no. 18.
Bibliography
1942
Works of Art from the Widener Collection. Foreword by David Finley and John Walker. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 8.
1943
Swarzenski, Georg. "Some Aspects of Italian Renaissance Sculpture in the National Gallery." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 6th series, 24 (September 1943): 154 fig. 3.
1944
Duveen Brothers, Inc. Duveen Sculpture in Public Collections of America: A Catalog Raisonné with illustrations of Italian Renaissance Sculptures by the Great Masters which have passed through the House of Duveen. New York, 1944: figs. 108-111.
1948
Paintings and Sculpture from the Widener Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1948 (reprinted 1959): 120, repro.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 163.
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 144, repro.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 625, no. 965, repro.
1994
Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1994: 153, repro.
1999
Norman Herz, Katherine A. Holbrow and Shelley G. Sturman. "Marble Sculture in the National Gallery of Art: a Provenance Study." In Max Schvoerer, ed. Archéomatériaux: marbres et autres roches: ASMOSIA IV, Bordeaux, France 9-13 october 1995: actes de la IVème Conférence international de l’Association pour l’étude des marbres et autres roches utilizes dans le passé. Talence, 1999: 101-110.
2000
National Gallery of Art Special Issue. Connaissance des Arts. Paris, 2000:59.