Description Batoni was particularly famous for his portraits and had many elite clients, such as Cardinal Prospero Colonna di Sciarra (1708-65), who was a member of a great Roman noble family. The cardinal can be identified by the letter he holds, which is addressed to him. The red color of the clothing of his ecclesiastic office produces an imposing effect against the dark background. Batoni's virtuosity in the handling of paint comes through in the meticulous depiction of different textures, such as hair, silk, and lace. For more information on this portrait, please see Federico Zeri's 1976 catalogue no. 415, pp. 526-527.
- Painting in Italy in the Eighteenth Century: Rococo to Romanticism. The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis; Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo. 1970.
- An Exhibition of the Treasures of The Walters Art Gallery. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton; Pace Wildenstein Gallery, New York. 1967.
- Going for Baroque. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1995-1996.
- Art in Rome in the Eighteenth Century. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston. 2000.
Provenance Colonna de Sciarra family (?), Rome [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome [date and mode of acquisition unknown] [1897 catalogue: no. 288]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Transcription] Inscribed on the front of the letter held by the sitter: ALL'EMINMO E REVMO PRINE / IL CARD COLONNA DE SCIARRA; [Translation] To the Most Eminent and Most Reverend Prince, the Cardinal Colonna di Sciarra
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902
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