Cardinal Baronio

Dec 11, 2023 | Authentications & attributions

This painting was identified as a possible Caravaggio among the long series of portraits of the Gioviana series placed high up along the cornice of the central corridor of the Uffizi Gallery.

The series takes this name because it was created taking as a model the portrait gallery of Paolo Giovio’s Museaum, near Como.

The artwork is still displayed in the same place, although there is no tag to indicate it, a little secret kept from most visitors.

The entry of the work into the Medici Wardrobe was recorded in 1704 when mention is made of the sending of three paintings to Grand Duke Cosimo III, including the “Portrait of the famous Cardinal Baronio painted by Caravaggio”. It was probably then that the inscription with the name was repainted, as seen in reflectography, to bring it into line with the other paintings in the Gioviana series.

On the occasion of the 2012 exhibition Caravaggio and his followers in Brazil, Art-Test had a series of diagnostic investigations carried out, which confirmed the compatibility of the painting with the proposed attribution.

Here you can see some of the diagnostic images: Reflected Ultraviolet Imaging System for Examination of Artworks – Art-Test