Curated by: Alessandro Cosma
The National Galleries of Ancient Art present the Rembrandt exhibition at the Corsini Gallery from 21 February to 15 June 2020: the Self-portrait like San Paolo, curated by Alessandro Cosma.
Coming from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the extraordinary self-portrait of Rembrandt, signed and dated 1661, which in the eighteenth century was part of the Corsini collection and was exhibited in the rooms of the Palazzo alla Lungara, will be exhibited for the first time in Italy after 1799.
The work was in fact purchased between 1737 and 1739 by Cardinal Neri Maria Corsini for 100 shields by Marie-Thérèse Gosset, widow of Nicolas Vleughels, director of the French Academy in Rome.
A recent documentary rediscovery has today clarified that the work was the protagonist of an emblematic episode of the dispersion of works of art during the French occupation of 1799.
In fact, in that year the Corsini family was forced to face the forced contributions imposed by the French government on noble Roman families. In the absence of Prince Tommaso, who took refuge in Vienna, the Corsini "master of the house", Ludovico Radice, organized the sale of 25 paintings from the collection to the well-known art dealer Luigi Mirri, who immediately sold part of it to the Englishman William Ottley.
The works sold on that occasion included masterpieces such as the Vision of Saint Augustine of Garofalo, today at the National Gallery in London, the Noah's Sacrifice attributed to Poussin, today in Tatton Park, and the Self-portrait of Rembrandt which Ottley gave up shortly after to another English merchant, William Buchanan. In 1807 the latter took him to England and, after numerous collector passages, the painting finally reached the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
In 1800, with the end of the Roman Republic, Prince Thomas started a lawsuit with Mirri and Ottley to stop the export of the paintings, but managed to resume only some of the paintings sold, among which the Herodias of Guido Reni, the Portrait of Julius II attributed to Raphael and the Madonna del latte di Murillo.
The exhibition then brings the famous Rembrandt painting to the Corsini Gallery, still staged today following the arrangement desired in the eighteenth century by Neri Maria Corsini, and will present the history of the dispersion of Corsini paintings in 1799.