Portrait of a Gentleman
Campi, Giulio (1507-1572) attributed to | Painter
Campi was an accomplished portraitist in northern Italy, who produced many skillful likenesses of his clients. The sitter’s name is not known because only fragments have survived of the painted note at top left, on which the name and date may have been recorded. Nevertheless, the painting conveys an impression of the man’s outward appearance and also gives an idea of his personality. The antique coins depicted on the table, as well as the books, identify him as a collector or scholar.
This work was first listed in the Dresden collection’s catalogue in 1835. A good hundred years later, during the Second World War, the painting was removed from the gallery and put into safe storage. Initially, it was kept in the Finance Ministry's vault here in Dresden, and later taken to Schloss Weesenstein, a former royal residence near Pirna. At that point, the trail of the painting goes cold. It is no longer possible to tell what happened to it between the time it was taken into safe storage and the time later, after the end of the war, when it was listed as missing.
For sixty years, there was no news of the painting.
In 2016, a work remarkably similar to the missing portrait was submitted to the New York branch of Sotheby’s auction house – and Sotheby's duly informed the SKD, the Dresden State Art Collections. The painting was extensively examined using modern scientific research methods, primarily only to exclude the possibility of this being another version or a copy. By comparing tiny details, it was finally possible to identify the painting. In this case, the decisive feature was the craquelure – the fine patterns of cracking in the paint layer visible, for instance, in the area of the tablecloth. The painting’s identification paved the way for its return to Dresden.
- Material & Technique
- Oil on canvas
- Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
- c. 1540
- Inventory number
- Gal.-Nr. 838 A