MARCO BASAITI CIRCA 1470 - 1530 PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG MAN, THOUGHT TO BE ALVISE DE FRANCESCHI inscribed on the reverse in an old hand: Alvise di Franceschi di(?) Giacomo/Tos(?)...Nicolo.../Maria... oil on panel 10 by 9 in.; 25.4 by 22.8 cm.
Col. Charles Towneley, 1877;
H. A. Peto;
Mrs. S.N. Crossby, Burton Pynsent, Yeovil, Somerset;
With Schaeffer Galleries, New York;
From whom acquired by George and Ilse Nelson in the early 1950s.
We are grateful to Prof. Mauro Lucco for confirming the attribution to Basaiti, based on an image. He dates the portrait to circa 1505-1510. It is comparable to another portrait by Basaiti, signed and dated 1496, formerly in the von Pannwitz collection, though the present portrait is certainly to be considered a more mature work.(1) Prof. Lucco had known the present portrait from an old photograph taken from a glass slide in the Dipartimento delle Arti Visive, at the University of Bologna. The slide had been made circa 1939 for Roberto Longhi who also believed this portrait to be by Basaiti.
The possible identity of the sitter as Alvise de Franceschi is based on an old (possibly 16th century?) inscription on the reverse of the panel. The Franceschi family was prominent in Venice during this period. Another member of this family, Andrea de Franceschi (1473-1551), was Grand Chancellor of Venice and a patron and friend of Titian's.
1. See B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance, Venetian School, New York 1957, Vol. I, reproduced fig. 599.