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Orazio Gentileschi and Giovanni Lanfranco
Saint Cecilia and an Angel

c. 1617/1618 and c. 1621/1627
oil on canvas
87.5 x 108 cm (34 7/16 x 42 1/2 in)
Probably Natale Rondinini, Rome [1540-1627]; his son, Alessandro Rondinini [d. 1639], Rome; his wife, Felice Zacchia Rondinini [1593-1667], Rome, 1662; by inheritance to their grandson, Alessandro Rondinini [1660-1740], Rome, [1] and inventoried at his death; [2] to the Del Bufalo Della Valle Cancellieri family, Rome, probably by inheritance through Alessandro's sister, Felicità Rondinini, who married a Marchese del Bufalo della Valle; [3] by inheritance to Marchese Paolo del Bufalo Della Valle, Rome, by 1840; by inheritance to Monsignor Federico Fioretti, Rome, by 1944; [4] sold 1952 through (Vitale Bloch, Netherlands) and (Victor Spark, New York) [5] to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; [6] gift 1961 to NGA.

[1] A painting of Saint Cecilia attributed to Gentileschi and Lanfranco and measuring 3 x 5 palmi (approximately 70 x 116 cm) is listed in the 1662 inventory attached to the will of Felice Zacchia Rondinini and published by Luigi Salerno, Palazzo Rondinini, Rome, 1965: 280; see also note 12, below. As no paintings by artists active after c. 1630 appear in the later inventories, Salerno concluded that this collection was amassed by Felice's father-in-law, Natale Rondinini, during the first decades of the seventeenth century. An inventory of 1639 lists paintings inherited by Felice from her father Laudivio Zacchia, cardinal of San Sisto (Archivio di stato di Roma, 30 notai capitolini, not. T. Pizzutus, Sept. 1649). The present work is not included. In 1623 Natale established a fideicommissum stipulating that his heirs maintain his art collection intact. The 1662 inventory indicates that the works of art were distributed throughout the family palace, with the Saint Cecilia "nella Galeria del S.r. Cardinale," Paolo Emilio, second son of Natale and Felice and the most illustrious member of the family. Felice's will maintained the fideicommissum and decreed that the works of art, including those in the apartments of the cardinal, would pass to her heirs Bonaventura (her eldest son, who died without issue) and Nicolò (1623 1670). Nicolò's son Alessandro carried on the male line. The history of the family is recounted by Salerno 1965: 29-44.
[2] It was lent by the Rondinini to the art exhibitions in the cloister of San Salvatore in Lauro of 1694 and 1710 (see NGA systematic catalogue entry and note 13). It also appears in Alessandro's inventory of 19 January 1741: "Altro [quadro] in tela di cinque e tre per traverso rapp.te S. Cecilia che sona l'organo in cornice dorata et intagliato mano del Lanfranco con la testa del Gentileschi della sud.etta eredità." The "sudetta eredità" refers to Natale's fideicommissum inherited via Felice. The inventory is in the Archivio di Stato di Roma, 30 notai capitolini, Domenicus Palmerius, uff. 37, fol. 116v, and was discovered by Franca Camiz (letter of 20 October 1992, NGA curatorial files).
[3] It is not known when Natale's fideicommissum was violated, but this could easily have occurred during the difficulties that the family experienced in the eighteenth century. Like many others, the painting does not reappear in the 1807 inventory compiled after Alessandro's second son Giuseppe had died without an heir. In the litigation for the inheritance, the descendants of Felicità Rondinini del Bufalo Della Valle were unsuccessful, further suggesting that the painting had passed to that family some time earlier. Salerno 1965: 283-315 and 73-74, published the 1807 inventory and chronicled the dissolution of the family collection. The line of descent from Felicità Rondinini remains unclear in the complicated history of the Del Bufalo Della Valle Cancellieri. On this family see Teodoro Amayden, La storia delle famiglie romane, Rome, 1914 (reprinted Bologna, 1979): 187-197.
[4] According to Federico Hermanin, "Gli ultimi avanzi di un' antica galleria romana", Roma (1944): 45, the paintings owned by Monsignor Fioretti in 1944, including the Saint Cecilia, had been inherited from his mother, a Marchesa del Bufalo Della Valle. These were included in a list, dated 23 February 1840 and then in the possession of Monsignor Fioretti, of paintings belonging to Marchese Paolo del Bufalo Della Valle.
[5] See Archives of American Art, Victor Spark Papers, Box One for correspondence between Bloch and Spark concerning this painting (copies in NGA curatorial files)
[6] According to Paintings and Sculpture from the Kress Collection, Acquired by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation 1951-1956, Washington, D.C., 1956: 82.
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