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Giovanni della Casa, who is in all likelihood the subject of this portrait, belonged to a wealthy Tuscan family and rose to prominence in the service of the church. As poet, humanist, and political theorist, he circulated at the highest levels of Italian intellectual life. Della Casa also wrote a book on manners, and in this portrait of the early 1540s displays the sober self-possession espoused in that work. When Pontormo painted this image, della Casa was in his early thirties and acting in Florence as Apostolic Commissioner of taxes. Pontormo shows the monsignor in a dim interior, and although the architectural details are few, they suggest that the building is Santa Maria del Fiore, the cathedral of Florence.

Pontormo's mannerist style was a brilliantly expressive synthesis of fantasy and acute observation of nature. Here the balance is tilted in favor of visible reality, but a reality intensified by plausible exaggerations. For example, the monsignor's small head is made to look even smaller by the huge conical bulk of his caped torso looming so close to the picture plane and brushing the sides of the frame.


Marchese Bargagli [family of the sitter], Florence. (Trotti et Cie., Paris, by 1909, as by Sebastiano del Piombo);[1] on joint account 1912-1922 with (M. Knoedler & Co., London, New York, and Paris); (Trotti et Cie., Paris), from 1922. (Count Alessandro Contini Bonacossi, Florence and Rome). (D'Atri, Paris and Rome). (Pinakos, Inc., New York) on joint account with (M. Knoedler & Co., London, New York and Paris); sold 6 February 1952 to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York;[2] gift 1961 to NGA.

Exhibition History

Tableaux anciens de l'école italienne, Galerie Trotti, Paris, 1909, no. 12.
Mostra del Pontormo e del Primo Manierismo Fiorentino, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, 1956, no. 76, pl. LXI (no. 84, pl. LXXVII in second edition of the catalogue).
Magnificenza! The Medici, Michelangelo, and the Art of Late Renaissance Florence (in Italy, L'ombra del genio: Michelangelo e l'arte Firenze, 1537-1631), Palazzo Strozzi, Florence; Art Institute of Chicago; Detroit Institute of Arts, 2002-2003, no. 32.
Pontormo, Bronzino, and the Medici: The Transformation of the Renaissance Portrait in Florence, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2004-2005, no. 45, repro., as Giovanni della Casa.
Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino. Diverging Paths of Mannerism, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, 2014, no. IV.1.5, repro., as Portrait of a Bishop (Monsignor Niccolo Ardinghelli?).
Wealth and Beauty: Pier Francesco Foschi and Painting in Florence, Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, Athens 2022, no. 30, repro.


Venturi, Adolfo. Storia dell’arte italiana. 11 vols. Milan, 1901-1940: 4, part 5(1932):82.
Lafenestre, Georges. “Un exposition de tableaux anciens.” Revue de l’art ancien et moderne 25 (1909): 12, as by Sebastiano del Piombo.
Bode, Wilhelm von. “Ein Paar neuaufgefundene Gemälde des Sebastiano del Piombo.” Jahrbuch der Preussischen Kunstsammlungen 35 (1914): 6, as by Sebastiano del Piombo.
Dussler, Luitpold. Sebastiano del Piombo. Basel, 1942, no. 77, as by Sebastiano del Piombo.
Suida, William E. "Titian's Portraits, Originals and Reconstructions." Gazette des Beaux-Arts (March 1946): 144, repro. 149.
Oertel, Robert. “Pontormo und florentiner Frühmanierismus.” Kunstchronik 9 (1956): 217.
Paintings and Sculpture from the Kress Collection Acquired by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation 1951-56. Introduction by John Walker, text by William E. Suida and Fern Rusk Shapley. National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1956: 142, no. 55, repro.
Sanminiatelli, Donato. “The Pontormo Exhibition in Florence.” The Burlington Magazine 98 (1956): 243.
Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1959: 109, repro.
Berenson, Bernard. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Florentine School. 2 vols. London, 1963: 1:182.
Sinibaldi, Giulia. "Un disegno del Pontormo." Paragone 14, no. 165 (September 1963):41-42, repro.
Cox-Rearick, Janet. The Drawings of Pontormo. 2 vols. Cambridge, MA, 1964: 1:309-310.
Forster, Kurt W. "Probleme um Pontormos Porträtmalerei (I)," Pantheon 22, no. 6 (Novemver - December 1964):380-381
Berti, Luciano. Pontormo. Disegni. Florence, 1965: under entry for pl. LVI v.
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 104.
Berti, Luciano. Pontormo. Florence, 1966: CLXVIII-CLXIX, repro.
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. New York, 1966: 1:136, color repro.
Forster, Kurt W. Pontormo: Monographie mit kritischem Katalog. Munich, 1966: 107, 146-147, cat. 44, pl. IX, fig. 106, as Portrait of Niccolo Ardinghelli.
Hirst, Michael. “Perino del Vaga and his Circle.” The Burlington Magazine 108, no. 761 (1966): 405 n. 20.
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 92, repro.
Fredericksen, Burton B., and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, MA, 1972: 168, 647.
Berti, Luciano. L’opera completa del Pontormo. Milan, 1973: 107, cat. 126, pl. LXIV, as Niccolò Ardinghelli.
De Chiaro, Tommaso. Pontormo ritrattista. Rome, 1973: 23.
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: Italian Schools, XVI-XVIII Century. London, 1973: 11-12, fig. 17.
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 272, repro.
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Catalogue of the Italian Paintings. 2 vols. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1979: 1:377-379; 2:pl. 273.
Bellosi, Luciano. “Il ritratto fiorentino del Cinquecento.” In Firenze e la Toscana dei Medici nell’Europa del Cinquecento. 5 vols. Exh. cat., Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, 1980: 1(Il primato del disegno):42.
Lucco, Mauro. L’opera completa di Sebastiano del Piombo. Milan, 1980: 144.
Cox-Rearick, Janet. The Drawings of Pontormo. A Catalogue Raisonné with Notes on the Paintings. 2nd edition. New York, 1981: 357-358.
Hirst, Michael. Sebastiano del Piombo. Oxford, 1981: 127.
Cox-Rearick, Janet. "Bronzino's Young Woman with Her Little Boy." Studies in the History of Art 12 (1982): 70-71, repro.
Cox-Rearick, Janet, and Sydney J. Freedberg. “A Pontormo (partly) recovered.” The Burlington Magazine 125, no. 966 (1983): 521 n. 1, as Niccolò Ardinghelli.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 187, no. 211, color repro.
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 317, repro.
Petrioli Tofani, Annamaria, ed. Inventario: disegni di figura, 1. Florence, 1991: 190-191.
Langdon, Gabrielle. “Pontormo and Medici Lineages: Maria Salviati, Alessandro, Giulia and Giulio de’ Medici.” RACAR: Revue d’art Canadienne 19, no. 1/2 (1992): 27
National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 99, repro.
Berti, Luciano. Pontormo e il suo tempo. Florence, 1993: 264, repro., as Portrait of Niccolò Ardinghelli.
Costamagna, Philippe. Pontormo. Milan, 1994: 11, 90, 196, 221, 245-247, cat. 80, 294.
Forlani Tempesti, Anna, and Alessandra Giovannetti. Pontormo. Florence, 1994: 142-143.
Nigro, Salvatore S. Pontormo. Milan, 1994: 178-179, repro., as Portrait of Niccolò Ardinghelli.
Conti, Alessandro. Pontormo. Milan, 1995: 56, fig. 69.
Falciani, Carlo. “Maria Salviati ritratta del Pontormo.” In Antonio Natali, ed. Rosso e Pontormo: fierezza e solitudine. Esercizi di lettura e rendiconti di restauro per tre dipinti degli Uffizi. Soresina, 1995: 131, fig. 9, as Portrait of Niccolò Ardinghelli.
Arasse, Daniel, and Andreas Tönnesmann. La Renaissance maniériste. Paris, 1997: 460, no. 294, repro.
Terribile, Claudia. “Il volto napoletano di monsignore della Casa.” Venezia Cinquecento 9, no. 17 (1999): 55-61.
Fedi, Roberto. “Un ritratto di Giovanni Della Casa.” In Vitilio Masiello, ed. Studi di filologia e letteratura italiana in onore di Gianvito Resta. Rome, 2000: 1:355-377.
Chong, Alan, Donatella Pegazzano, and Dimitrios Zikos, eds. Raphael, Cellini & a Renaissance Banker: The Patronage of Bindo Altoviti. Exh. cat. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, 2003: 339.
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 99, no. 75, color repro.
Pinelli, Antonio. La bellezza impura: arte e politica nell’Italia del Rinascimento. Bari, 2004: 142.
Terribile, Claudia. “Quale volto per monsignor Della Casa.” In Amedeo Quondam, ed. Giovanni della Casa: Un seminario per il Centenario. Rome, 2006: 79-130, fig. 1, as Portrait of a Bishop (Niccolò Ardinghelli?).
Costamagna, Philippe. Un capolavoro del Rinascimento. Pontormo, Ritratto di Gentiluomo. Milan, 2010: 10, 13, 14, 18, fig. 1.
Falciani, Carlo, and Antonio Natali. Pontormo. Milan, 2014: 205, repro. 206, as Portrait of a Bishop (Monsignor Niccolò Ardinghelli?).

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