ID number: BIRBI-45.3
Institution: The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker: Signorelli, Luca (1441?-1523)
Title / Object name: Portrait of Niccolò Vitelli
Object type: Painting
Place made: Citta di Castello, central Italy
Date made: 1493/6
Materials: Oil on wood
Measurements: 44.2 x 33 cm
Provenance: Sir Francis Cook; by descent to Herbert Cook; purchased from Messrs. T. Agnew & Sons, Ltd., in 1945 for £3,600.
Niccolò Vitelli (1414 - 1486) was a ruthless mercenary commander who established his family as rulers of Città di Castello. This portrait was painted after his death. It was probably commissioned by his sons as a memorial, and it originally hung with their portraits.
The profile portrait was used on coins and medals and it therefore held associations of power and of memory. In this case, the format also made it easier for Signorelli to depict a sitter who was deceased.
Inscriptions / Translations: Inscribed: N.V.
Notes: Exhibited: 'Mostra di Luca Signorelli', Palazzo Pretorio, Cortona, Italy, May 1953 - August 1953, no. 19; 'Luca Signorelli', Strozzi Palace, Florence, Italy, September 1953 - October 1953; 'Luca Signorelli in British Collections', National Gallery, London, UK, 11 November 1998 - 31 January 1999, no. 11.