As shown in the photograph at left from the 1940s, an unknown restorer completely repainted the face of this sitter to resemble the work of Pinturicchio. This restorer cut down the original panel along the left side, and reinforced the eyes, nose, and mouth to give a slimmer appearance. It is possible that these alterations were made while the painting belonged to the dealer Joseph Duveen, who owned it by 1925. A Pinturicchio would certainly have fetched a better price than a portrait by an anonymous Florentine.
Agnolo di Domenico del Mazziere (1466 – 1513) or Donnino di Domenico del Mazziere (1460 – after 1515)
Portrait of a Youth
left: Before Modestini cleaning. Photograph: Louis Werner, New York, probably early 1940s, lantern slide
right: Current state. Photograph: National Gallery of Art
left: Attributed to Andrea di Aloigi da Assisi Ingegno, Portrait of a Boy, Gëmaldegalerie Alte Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden. Photograph: unknown
right: Before Duveen-era cleaning. Photograph: Gray, New York, c.1925, silver gelatin print
The portrait on the left, now in Dresden, was once widely considered to be by Pinturicchio and may have served as a model for both the Mazziere brothers and the modern alterations. The rocky landscape elements, the half-length figure posed at a slight angle, and placed before a landscape are reminiscent of the Gallery’s portrait. The Dresden thinner visage as well as faces of the spectators in Pinturicchio’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel likely served as models for the Duveen-era changes.
During Modestini cleaning. Photograph:
Paul Kiehart, April 1, 1954, film negative
The Samuel H. Kress Foundation purchased the painting in 1938, as a Pinturicchio. In 1954, Mario Modestini, the restorer for the Foundation, removed the alterations to the sitter’s face and narrowed the panel by 4 cm to eliminate repainted additions. In 1962, the art historian, Federico Zeri, published the painting as by an anonymous artist called the Master of Santo Spirito, now identified as Agnolo or Donnino di Domenico del Mazziere.