Adeodato Malatesta (attributed to) - inv. 270
Until a short time ago this child was thought to be the founder of the Museum: instead, it shows young prince Fabio Gonzaga, the son of Gian Giacomo’s sister, Matilde, at about three years.
Fabio Gonzaga (1840-1868) was born from the marriage of Matilde Poldi Pezzoli (1820-1840) and prince Luigi Gonzaga of Parma (1796-1877). She died in childbirth and the little boy was entrusted to the care of his grandmother, Rosina Trivulzio Poldi Pezzoli. This is how the picture came to be in the gallery of family portraits.
The real identity of the child is the result of researches in old inventories where the portrait is attributed to Adeodato Malatesta, a well-known portraitist of the historical Romanticism.
This attribution is confirmed by the style. Malatesta was appreciated for his moderate purism; here the child’s face is idealized and sweetened by the paint great smoothness.