• Jacob Ferdinand Voet cardinal Bonaccorso Bonaccorsi

    Jacob Ferdinand Voet (Antwerp 1639 - Paris 1689)
    Portrait of Cardinal Buonaccorso Buonaccorsi, c. 1673
    Oil on canvas, 134.5 x 97.3 cm

    This solemn portrait depicts a cardinal in a standing pose, seen slightly from his right side, his gaze turned to the spectator, while holding a memoir or letter in his hands. It is clearly an official portrait, which testifies to the prelate's high rank.

    The cardinal is wearing a sumptuous ceremonial cope, a crimson cape lined and edged with ermine fur, a red robe with wide purple sleeves, and a white-sleeved shirt in organza. In the background on the left is some dark drapery bordered by gold trim and pendants, while on the right is a pilaster on the wall with an Ionic-Attic base.

    For iconographic and stylistic reasons, this painting dates back to the 1670s and is certainly related to the hand of Jacob Ferdinand Voet, one of the most talented and prolific portraitists of the second half of the century.

    Typical of him is the smooth rendering of the flesh, evident in the hand and face, and a freer, painterly, almost defiant execution, with fast liquid strokes on a background of glazes, to be seen in the garments and accessories.

  • Ritratto del cardinale Francesco Nerli juniore

    Jacob Ferdinand Voet, Portrait of Cardinal Francesco Nerli juniore

    It is a rare three-quarter portrait of his, in the so-called emperor format compared to the more common head format of his vast range of portraits. From a compositional point of view, the portrait of Wilhelm von Fürstenberg (Herdringen Castle, Fürstenberg collection), the portraits of Cardinals Francesco Nerli iuniore (formerly Los Angeles County Museum) and Giulio Spinola (Houston Museum of Fine Arts), but above all that of Cardinal Pierre de Bonzy (Rome, Palazzo Sacchetti), have a very similar pose, especially the latter, which is practically identical in the elements of the background and in the position of the hands holding a missive, especially the right one in the foreground.

  • Therefore, this portrait is to be added to the small group of only three cardinals known to date with the subject standing (while few other cardinals are known), always in emperor format, but with the prelate sitting on a ceremonial chair. These are the portraits of Flavio Chigi (Ariccia, Palazzo Chigi), Carlo Cerri (London, National Gallery) and Decio Azzolino (Berlin, Staatliche Museum).

  • In short, all portrayed with museums in mind, and dating back to the 1670s, like this one. Which takes us to the far-from-easy identification of the sitter, certainly to be identified among the group of cardinals present in Rome between the pontificate of Pope Clement IX (1667-69) and that of Innocent XI (1676-89), but before the painter's definitive departure from Rome in 1682.

  • The Cardinal is to be identified in Bonaccorso Bonaccorsi (Monte Santo, 1620 - Bologna, 1678), as demonstrated in comparing an...

    Effigy of Cardinal Bonaccorso Bonaccorsi, Albert Clouwet (after a painting by J. F. Voet), printed by Giacomo De Rossi alla Pace ( post 1669).

    The Cardinal is to be identified in Bonaccorso Bonaccorsi (Monte Santo, 1620 - Bologna, 1678), as demonstrated in comparing an engraving by Albert Clouwet derived from a painting by Jacob Ferdinand Voet, present in the collection Effigies nominates and cognomine cardinalium nunc viventium, printed by Giacomo De Rossi alla Pace in several editions (Ariccia, Palazzo Chigi; Vatican Apostolic Library, etc.).





  • This engraving was probably taken from a previous pose, dating back to the time of his nomination in 1669, while portrait under discussion would be from no more than a few years later, showing the prelate looking more mature. Presumably, it was painted in 1673, on the occasion of the appointment of Bonaccorsi as Papal Legate in Bologna by Clement X, given the official clothing he is wearing.

  • In this case, the presence of a star in the fragment of an escutcheon still visible at the bottom of...

    In this case, the presence of a star in the fragment of an escutcheon still visible at the bottom of the frame may have been eliciting the Altieri coat of arms, that is, of the reigning Pope, who appointed him Cardinal based in Bologna. The shield would be a reference to his diplomatic office, as would the presence of the crosier as Provost of Bologna, while the archiepiscopal hat at the top (missing the tassels, whose number distinguished between Monsignor, Bishop, Cardinal, and so on) would refer to the rank of Cardinal.


    In short, the particular garment worn by the Cardinal in reference to his position would have been mirrored by the coat of arms which adorned the frame.

  • Bonaccorso Bonaccorsi was born in Monte Santo, Archdiocese of Fermo, on July 23rd, 1620, into a family from The Marches, originally from Monte Santo (now Potenza Picena), conceivably a branch of the Buonacorsi family of Florence, distinguished in the 15th century among the noble families of Macerata. Counts of Castel San Pietro, they were nobles of Bologna and were welcomed into the Roman aristocracy by Pope Benedict XIV. The family produced two cardinals, Buonaccorso, and in the 1700s, Simone.

    Having graduated in law from the University of Perugia, Bonaccorsi embarked upon a rapid and successful ecclesiastical career, with appointments as a Referendary of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, a Prefect of Arms and Provisions for Pope Alexander VII, a butler to Cardinal Flavio Chigi, and Treasurer of the Apostolic Camera.

    He was elected Cardinal Deacon via a special dispensation, not having received the minor orders, by Clement IX on November 29th, 1669, and was definitively appointed cardinal and assigned the titular church of Santa Maria della Scala by Clement X on March 27th, 1670. On April 17th, 1673, he was appointed by the same Pope as the Pontifical Legate in Bologna, the city where he was to pass away on April 18th, 1678, at the age of 57.

    He is buried in the Basilica della Santa Casa in Loreto, in a funeral monument designed by Antonio Raggi, who also sculpted the praying portrait of him inserted in the niche.

  • Jacob Ferdinand Voet, known as "monsù Ferdinando" or "Ferdinando de' ritratti" (Antwerp 1639 - Paris 1689), was the fashionable portrait painter par excellence of late-Baroque Rome, between the pontificate of Rospigliosi (1667-1669) and the beginning of the pontificate of Odescalchi (1676-1685). He later established himself as a leading specialist in Europe of the Grand Siècle thanks to his international production.

    The painter's fame was furthered by the creation of the "Gallerie delle Belle", that is, collections of the faces of the most fascinating women of Roman: from the series born for the Chigi family in 1672 and inspired by the Mancini sisters, to those produced (also by replicating, assimilating or altering the originals) for the Colonna, Savoy, Massimo, and other illustrious Italian families.

    Between 1682 and 1684, he settled in Piedmont where he worked for the Savoy family and aristocracy. He lived the last part of his life in France, executing numerous portraits of personages of the Court.

    He became "painter to his most Christian Majesty", however his rising career was cut short by his sudden death in Paris on September 26th, 1689, in his home on Quai de Guénégaud near the Pont Neuf.