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Title Portrait of Guido Bentivoglio (1579-1644)
Collection English Heritage (Chiswick House)
Artist After Dyck, Anthony van (Flemish painter, 1599-1641, active in England)
Date Earliest 1622
Date Latest possibly about 1700
Description The Chiswick Portrait of Guido Bentivoglio (1579-1644) is a seventeenth-century reduced replica of van Dyck's (1599-1641) original in the Pitti Palace, Florence, which was commissioned by the sitter the year after he was created cardinal in 1621. Bentivoglio was one of the age's foremost princes of the Church. In 1607 he was created Archbishop of Rhodes by Paul V and was subsequently appointed nuncio to Flanders and then to France. He became famous for his history of the war in Flanders, which following his residency there, he continued to retain a close interest in and when van Dyck visited Rome about 1622 he was entertained by the Cardinal. Van Dyck's imposing portrait shows the cardinal seated on a golden throne ornamented with the Bentivoglio's heraldic eagle, a dark red curtain hangs across the right corner of the background, while to the left is a table hung with red velvet on which are a folded paper and a glass vase with cut flowers; a glimpse of sky is visible beyond an imposing colonnade. The Cardinal wears the robes of church authority: the shimmering red satin mozzetta and the white lace trimmed undergarment. While his body is turned to the left his head is turned sharply to the right animating the composition with a bold contraposto. The Cardinal's distant gaze may allude to his foresight as a diplomat and historian; in his hands he holds a letter addressed to him, possibly the document informing him of his appointment to cardinal. The cut flowers in the vase, a typically northern vanitas element, are a reminder of the transience of earthly life.
Current Accession Number 88275601
Subject portrait (Guido Bentivoglio)
Measurements 60 x 50 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bequeathed to English Heritage by Mrs Seary 2005.
Principal Exhibitions Altere Meister aus Sachsischern Pivatbesitz, Leipzig, 1889, cat. no.144 as Herr und Dame am Spinett; Munich, 1895, cat. no. 34; Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1905, cat. no. 19; Dutch Art, Royal Academy, London, 1929, cat. no. 242; Seventeenth Century European Art, Royal Academy, London, 1938, cat. no. 272; Masterpieces of Dutch Painting, Slatter Gallery, London, 1945, cat. no. 27; Wildenstein, London, 1946, cat. no. 14; Masterpieces of Dutch and Flemish Painting, Slatter Gallery, London, 1949, cat. no. 28; Dutch Pictures, Royal Academy, London, 1952-3, cat. no. 403; Art Exhibitions Bureau, 1953-4; Dutch Masterpieces, Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, 1956, cat. no. 28.
Notes Van Dyck's Portrait of Cardinal Bentivoglio enjoyed considerable success and was consequently copied frequently, a comparable reduced version (74 x 58 cms) of the painting was with the Heim Gallery in 1978. Van Dyck's original was removed to the Louvre during the French Revolution and was consequently engraved in 1807 for the catalogue of the Musée Napoleon.
Rights Owner © English Heritage Photo Library
Author Francesco Nevola



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