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L.14A Pictures and Portraits in Florentine Houses

c. 1515 – c. 1520

Vasari, 1550, 797, in the “Life” of Rosso: “Et per le case de’cittadini si veggono più quadri, e molti ritratti.”  Vasari, 1568, 205 (Vasari-Milanesi, V, 158), the same.

This sentence appears immediately after Vasari’s mention of the arms of Leo X, which seem to have been executed in 1515, and before his reference to the entry of Leo X into Florence, which took place 30 November 1515.  However, it also follows the mistakenly placed account of the S. Maria Nuova Altarpiece that was executed in 1518.  What Vasari is referring to in this sentence would seem to be small paintings and portraits done from around 1515 until the time that Rosso went to Piombino, around 1520 (see L.15 and L.16).  From this period three portraits have survived: the Portrait of a Young Woman as Mary Magdalen, in Florence (Fig.P.1a), the Portrait of a Young Man with a Letter, in London (Fig.P.6a), and the Portrait of a Young Man, in Washington, D.C. (Fig.P.8a).  One small religious painting is known, the Holy Family with the Young St. John, in Baltimore (Fig.P.7a), although if one slightly extends the period one could include the St. John the Baptist of 1521-1522 in a private collection in Florence (Fig.P.11a).  These are the only small pictures by Rosso that are known today and they are all more or less datable within the period covered by Vasari’s sentence.  They were most likely all done in Florence.  It is possible that there were others, some of which might still be discovered to support further Vasari’s references to “più quadri” and “molti ritratti.”  See L.14B for a seventeenth century reference to ‘più quadri’ made for the Ginori.