Ptolemy Ptolémée

Ptolemaeus

2nd Century A.D. - IIe siècle après J.C.

Iconography of Ptolemy's Portrait
Iconographie du portrait de Ptolémée

 Index of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) Portraits
Index des portraits de Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

early 19th century Calendi and Morghen after Tito

Giuseppe Calendi (early 19th century) and Rafaello Morghen (1758-1833), after Santi di Tito (1536-1603), Galilaeus Galilaei Patricius Flor. aet. suae Annum Agens Quadragesimum, early 19th century, engraving, ? x ? cm, unknown collection.

Signature: "[Sancti di Titi pinxit / Ex Pinacotheca Nelliana / Joseph Calendi sculp. / Raph. Morghen direxit]"?

Inscription: "Galilaeus Galilaei Patricius Flor. / aet. suae / Annum Agens Quadragesimum".

Giuseppe Calendi (début XIXe siècle) et Rafaello Morghen (1758-1833), d'après Santi di Tito (1536-1603), Galilaeus Galilaei Patricius Flor. aet. suae Annum Agens Quadragesimum, début du XIXe siècle, gravure, ? x ? cm, collection inconnue.

Signature: "[Sancti di Titi pinxit / Ex Pinacotheca Nelliana / Joseph Calendi sculp. / Raph. Morghen direxit]"?

Inscription: "Galilaeus Galilaei Patricius Flor. / aet. suae / Annum Agens Quadragesimum".

 

Santi di Tito was born in Borgo San Sepolcro (1536) and died in Florence (1603). The inscription on the engraving states that Galileo was painted by Tito at the age of 40, that is around 1604. Since Tito died in 1603, the original portrait has thus been made before that date.

IMAGE
TO FIND
Santi di Tito

But we still have to find Tito's original portrait that was part of the "Pinacotheca Nelliana" at the beginning of the 19th century when this engraving was made by Calendi and Morghen. Sandra Cheng suggests that "perhaps an early 20th century source of Galileo imagery may help. The citation is:

Fahie, J.J., Memorials of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), Portraits and Paintings, Medals and Medallions, Busts and Statues, Monuments and Mural Inscriptions, Leamington and London, Courier Press, 1929."

Collaboration from Catherine Turrill

January 29, 2001

This is just a guess, but possibly the "Pinacotheca Nelliana" refers to images assembled by the Nelli family of Florence, possibly in the 1600s when Giovanni Battista Nelli was so actively involved in art and science there. The Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze has a large collection of papers and drawings that he assembled (or, if not him, another member of the family).

I would be very interested in what other scholars have to say about this topic, especially if my guess is confirmed by anyone, because I am doing research on a 1th-century member of the family, the painter Plautilla Nelli.

"Between 1750 and 1754, the Florentine senator Giovanni Battista Clemente de' Nelli purchased a great many autographs of both Galileo and his disciples. Nelli made use of the manuscripts as documentary sources for his massive biography of Galileo, which was published only after his death in 1793. By purchasing the autographs, Nelli was able to save the core of the present Collezione Galileiana from the threat of destruction." Source.

"The Nelli Collection was bought in 1818 for the court library called "Biblioteca Palatina" by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinando III (Habsburg-Lothringen) [...] In the years between circa 1819 and 1828, a first inventory of the collection was produced of which a copy, known as "Catalogo Antinori," is preserved at the Biblioteca Nazionale [...] In the year 1824, Leopoldo became Grand Duke; between 1826 and 1828, the library was formally institutionalized, and its stock catalogued. [...] After a series of tumultuous political events the Galileo collection was acquired by the Biblioteca Nazionale of Florence. [...] The Biblioteca Palatina was expropriated in 1861 and united with the public library of Florence, Biblioteca Magliabechiana, to become the new Biblioteca Nazionale. The controversy concerning the ownership of the Biblioteca Palatina was only settled in 1871 with the payment of a compensation." Source.

The computerized catalogue of these Galileo manuscripts gives two references to letters of Giuseppe Calendi. Might they be related to the authorship of this engraving?

Lettera Aglietti, Francesco - Calendi, Giuseppe. 23 marzo 1802 (Firenze, BNCF, Gonnelli 1, 235).

Lettera Antoni Berni, Vincenzo: degli - Calendi, Giuseppe. 13 maggio 1812 (Firenze, BNCF, Gonnelli 2, 3676).

According to Albert Van Helden, the earliest known illlustration of a telescope is by Giovanpattista della Porta who "included this sketch in a letter written in August 1609" (The Telescope).

It is further documented that Galileo began to construct his first famous telescopes in July of 1609. In his engraving, Calendi shows Galileo with an object which could be a telescope in his right hand. If this object is a telescope. If Calendi copied exactly what he saw on the orignal painting of Santi di Tito. If the attribution of that painting to di Tito was appropriate and still is. Then Galileo had a telescope before 1603, since di Tito died at this date!

What if the instrument Galileo is holding is not a telescope, but a microscope? The dating would then be 1610 when he began to build his own ones! But, the microscope was invented in 1590 by Zacharias Janssen and his father in Holland. Could Galileo have owned one before 1603 when he was portrayed by di Tito? Or was the attribution made to this artist by Calendi at the beginning of the 19th century erroneous? If the attribution to di Tito is false, then the original portrait copied by Calendi could have been made around 1609-1610 by another artist...!

early 19th century Calendi and Morghen after Tito's painting of before 1603.

Circa 1610-1615? Tintoretto?

1623 Villamena

Could the apparent age of the sitter help dating this portait? Or the costume details and fashion? Yes they do. The "Tintoretto" version shows someone older than this Calendi-Tito version, and younger than the 1623 Villamena version. On other hand, the costume of this Calendi-Tito version seems somewhat more "old-fashioned" than the costumes depicted in these two later versions.

Conclusion? The bottom line could be written when we will have found the Tito's missing portait...! Meanwhile, we have to live with might be Galileo's oldest known missing portrait. And an important new interpretation in Galileo's relationship with scientific instruments, 6 years earlier than known from other sources...!?

 

Collaboration

CHENG Sandra, PhD Candidate, Department of Art History, University of Delaware.
TURRILL Catherine, Professor and Interim Chair, Art Department, California State University, Sacramento.
 

Web

VAN HELDEN Albert, and Elizabeth BURR, "Pictures of Galileo", Galileo Project, Houston (TX), Rice University.
http://www.wm.edu/arthistory/faculty/chappell/BBLSEC5.HTM
Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze

 

Biblio

Benezit, Emmanuel (compilation), et Jacques Busse (éditeur), Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs, De tous les temps et de tous les pays par groupe d'écrivains spécialistes francais et étrangers, Nouvelle édition entièrement refondue, Paris, Gründ, 1999, 14 v..
Fahie, John Joseph, Galileo, his life and work, with portraits and illustrations, London, J. Murray, 1903, xvi, 451 p. front., ill., plates, ports., fold. facsim, 22 cm. Reprint: Dubuque (Iowa W.C.), Brown reprint library, n.d..
Fahie, J.J., Memorials of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), Portraits and Paintings, Medals and Medallions, Busts and Statues, Monuments and Mural Inscriptions, Leamington and London, Courier Press, 1929.

 

page créée le 23 janvier 2001
mise à jour le 28 janvier 2001

Ptolemy Ptolémée

Ptolemaeus

 Index of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) Portraits
Index des portraits de Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

web Robert DEROME