Portrait of Sixtus the Fifth by Filippo Bellini acquired by the château de Pau

Filippo Bellini (c. 1550-1603)
Portrait of Sixtus the Fifth
Oil on canvas - 84 x 110 cm
Pau, Musée national du château
Photo : Beaussant-Lefèvre

15/11/08 — Acquisition — Pau, Musée national du château — It is well known that the château de Pau has established a priority for collecting anything relating to Henry IV. During the first auction of the Aldecoa collection, on 15 Octobre 2008 at Drouot (Etude Beaussant-Lefèvre), it pre-empted a Portrait of Sixtus the Fifth by Filippo Bellini [1], a native of Urbino, for 60,765€ (including charges). At the beginning of his pontificate (1585-1590), this pope had excommunicated the future Henry IV because he had retracted himself in 1576 from his conversion to Catholicism at the time of the massacre of Saint Bartholomew’s day.

The connection to the King of France and Navarre is tenuous indeed. But far from regretting the pretext put forth, Pau should be commended as it signals the acquisition of a beautiful painting by a little-known artist, rarely found in French collections (a Noli me tangere at the church of Saint Peter in Saumur is attributed to him and the Louvre holds several drawings ; abroad, the Uffizi in Florence and the Staatcliche Graphische Sammlung in Munich also own extensive graphic holdings [2]).
Filippo Bellini worked mostly in the Marche and in Romagne regions of Italy and was strongly influenced by Federico Barocci (the Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata at the Pinacoteca Civica in Faenza, for example, is very close to the same subject treated by Baroche). His painted works are found mostly in churches and museums in the province of Ancona and in Macerata.

Version française

Didier Rykner, samedi 15 novembre 2008


[1] This painting had been exhibited in 1989 at the Charenton City Hall : Le Dix-septième siècle en Europe : peintres du baroque et l’influence de l’Italie, which presented several paintings from the Aldecoa collection.

[2] His very idiosyncratic style as a draughtsman was studied by Catherine Monbeig Goguel in Master Drawings ("Filippo Bellini da Urbino della scuola del Baroccio, Master Drawings, Hiver 1975, Volume XIII, n° 4, p. 347-370).Several of the facts in this news item were taken from there.

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