Friday, September 26, 2008


Ottavio Mario Leoni 1578 - 1630
Portrait of Cardinal Scipione Borghese
Oil on canvas 1.24m x 0.93m
Musée Fesch, Ajaccio

Ottavio Mario Leoni 1578 - 1630
Portrait of Giovanni Baglioni, Painter and Art Critic/Historian 1625
Print Engraving
Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, Glasgow

«E ritrassi non solo li Sommi Pontefici de' suoi tempi, ma li Principi cardinali, e Signori titolati, e d'ogni altra qualità, pur che famosi fussero, sì religiosi, come regolari, in diversi tempi da lui fatti». Giovanni Baglioni Vite de' Pittori Scultori et Architetti (1642)

"Not only did he draw the Pontiffs of his time but also the Cardinal Princes, and those of other high rank and title, and not only those who were celebrated or religious, but also those of private rank at various times."

The drawings of Leoni were a faithful reflection of Roman society in the 1600s: the cosmopolitanites and the peansant, the rich and the poor.

His most important patron, Cardinal Scipione Borghese, began to amass Leoni's work, both paintings and drawings, from around 1607.

After the artist's death in 1630, Cardinal Borghese purchased the bulk of his studio from Leoni's heir and stepson, Hippolito, striking the deal within six days of his death for the enormous sum of 500 scudi.

The cardinal was the son of Ortensia Borghese - Paul V's sister - and of Francesco Caffarelli

In the eighteenth century, the Borghese collection was sold and its contents scattered.