Although this portrait resembles works by other Milanese followers of Leonardo da Vinci -- notice the delicate gradations of shadow and the application of paint without visible brushstrokes -- it may have been painted when Solario was working in Venice, a city where portraits were particularly...
Although this portrait resembles works by other Milanese followers of Leonardo da Vinci -- notice the delicate gradations of shadow and the application of paint without visible brushstrokes -- it may have been painted when Solario was working in Venice, a city where portraits were particularly popular. The sitter's stern expression and the aggressive way his fist seems to press against the frame are somewhat softened by his wispy hair and the gentle landscape visible through the arched window.
By 1815, Giovanni Albarelli, Verona [see note 1]; probably sold by Albarelli to Count Ludovico Bertolazzone d'Arrache, Turin [see note 2]; probably by inheritance to his nephew, Count Lorenzo Castellani, Turin [see note 3]. By 1881, Sir William Neville Abdy, 2nd Bt. (b. 1844 - d. 1910), London [see note 4]; May 5, 1911, Abdy sale, Christie, Manson and Woods, London, lot 123 [see note 5], to Dowdeswell and Dowdeswell, Ltd., London; 1911, sold by Dowdeswell and Dowdeswell to the MFA. (Accession Date: July 6, 1911) NOTES:  In 1815 Albarelli commissioned a volume of pen drawings of his collection. This painting was included, attributed to Giovanni Bellini. See Nicholas Penny, The Sixteenth Century Italian Paintings, vol. 1, Paintings from Bergamo, Brescia and Cremona, National Gallery Catalogues series (London: National Gallery Company, 2004), 359.  Count Ludovico seems to have purchased many paintings in his collection around the 1820s and 1830s, and acquired at least one other painting from Albarelli. Upon his death, his collection passed by descent to his nephew, Lorenzo Castellani. See Penny, 2004 (as above, n. 1).  In his travel diaries (f. 20v), Otto Mündler recorded seeing this painting on October 12, 1857 in the collection of Lorenzo Castellani, Turin.  Lent to the Royal Academy, London, "Winter Exhibition," 1881, attributed to F. Francia.  As "Portrait of Giovanni Bentivoglio of Bologna."