Florentine 15th or 16th Century, probably after a model by Andrea del Verrocchio and Orsino Benintendi
Lorenzo de' Medici
65.8 x 59.1 x 32.7 cm (25 7/8 x 23 1/4 x 12 7/8 in)
Alessandro Rivani [1746-c. 1832], Florence.  Carlo Ernesto Liverati [1805-1844], Florence, until c. 1835;  Rev. John Sanford [1777-1855], Florence and London;  sold c. 1841 to Edward Nicholls Dennys, London, until at least 1850.  Henry Labouchere, 1st baron Taunton [1798-1869], Stoke Park, Over-Stowey, Somersetshire, by 1862; by inheritance to his son-in-law, Edward James Stanley [1826-1907], Quantock Lodge, Bridgewater, Somersetshire; by inheritance to his son, Edward Arthur Vesey Stanley [1879-1941], Quantock Lodge;  (his sale, Sotheby's, London, 16 July 1920, no. 17);  probably purchased by (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris);  sold to Clarence H. Mackay [1874-1938], Roslyn, New York, by 1923;  his estate; sold 1940 through (Jacques Seligmann and Co., New York) to (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris);  purchased 1941 by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; gift 1943 to NGA.  Edward Nicholls Dennys (in a letter to the editor, "The Bust of Lorenzo the Magnificent," The Art-Union [October 1843]: 202) quotes a letter he received from the Rev. John Sanford (see note 2), from whom he (Dennys) purchased the bust: "It was previously in the possession of the 'Avvocati Rivani, a very distinguished scholar and collector of works of Art, who died about ten years since. He was Secretary to the Antiquarian Society called Colombaria." Rivani also owned Lorenzo de' Medici's death mask, which he gave to the Società Colombaria in 1827. See in addition Adrienne DeAngelis, "On the Ashmolean bust of Lorenzo de' Medici," The Sculpture Journal 13 (2005): 5-17, who also refers to Dennys' letter.  In the same letter quoted by Dennys (see note 1), Sanford tells Dennys that he (Sanford) "purchased it of an artist, in whose studio he found it for sale as the undoubted work of Michael Angelo [sic]." Giancarlo Gentilini, in a letter of 12 August 1995 to Alison Luchs, confirms the artist as Liverati (information in the archives of the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze, 1852, no. 135; letter in NGA curatorial files).  Sanford lived in Florence from 1815 to 1837, and formed a collection of Italian paintings. The 1852 document (see note 2) records that Sanford commissioned Aristodemo Costoli to make a cast of the bust and to carve a marble version. Molds were taken from the marble, and casts made, several of which Sanford gave to Italian institutions. Sanford took the bust to England, and offered it for sale, according to Dennys (see note 1), around 1841 "in the gallery of a commission-agent in Old Bond-street." The bust did not appear in Sanford's two sales, mostly of paintings, held in London in 1838 and 1839.  See note 1. Dennys lent the bust to an exhibition at the House of the Society of Arts in London in 1850.  Lord Taunton lent the bust to an extended exhibition from 1862 to 1864 at the South Kensington Museum in London. According to Trifon Trapesnikoff (Die Porträtdarstellungen der Mediceer des XV Jahrhunderts, Strassburg, 1909: 50), the bust was with "Lord Taunton in England."  The 1920 sale catalogue incorrectly states that the bust was bought in Italy during the 1840s by Lord Taunton from Professor Santarelli, a well-known Florentine sculptor. The bust purchased from Santarelli is another bust of Lorenzo de' Medici now in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Ulrich Middeldorf (Sculptures from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: European Schools XIV-XIX Century, London, 1976: 43-45) repeats this error, and mistakenly says the sale was held by Christie's instead of Sotheby's.  Wilhelm Bode wrote to Joseph Duveen on 25 June 1920, expressing his opinion about the bust (transcription of letter in NGA curatorial files), and Mary Berenson wrote to her husband, Bernard Berenson, on 17 July 1920, describing Duveen showing her the bust (Barbara Strachey and Jayne Samuels, eds., Mary Berenson. A Self-Portrait from her Letters & Diaries, New York and London, 1983: 233).  Wilhelm Bode, Art in America (December 1923): 5.  See the Mackay files in the Seligmann papers, Archives of American Art, boxes 238-239 (copies in NGA curatorial files). The sale to Duveen was announced in The Art Digest ("Il Magnifico," [15 May 1940]: 8).