Justus Suttermans - inv. 1154
The sitter has been identified as the cardinal Carlo de’ Medici (1595-1666) thanks to comparison with other portraits of him, among which the famous one, also by Sustermans, once in the Medicean villa of Poggio a Caiano and today exhibited in the apartments of Palazzo Pitti in Florence.
Carlo de’ Medici, son of Ferdinando I and Cristina of Lorraine, was nominated cardinal by Paul V on 2 December 1615. A lover of the arts, he dabbled in music and the theatre and collected paintings – among which works by Andrea del Sarto and seventeenth-century Florentine and Emilian painters – many of which are today in various museums in Florence.
The sitter has been portrayed in his cardinal robes – the hat and red cape lined with fur. The thick, grainy brushstrokes and freshness and freedom of touch point to a dating between the end of 1660 and the beginning of 1670. This was the mature phase of Sustermans’ activity: born in Antwerp, he had arrived in Florence in 1620, where he had lived and worked until he died, apart from brief trips to other cities, among which Mantua, Rome, Parma and Genoa.