'Portrait of a young girl' c1634

Domenichino (1581 - 1641)

The young girl is gazing at the left side.

Black chalk heightened with white on grey-buff paper, 21.7 x 16cm

The identity of the girl in this portrait is unknown. It was probably made during the summer of 1634 when Domenichino left Naples to stay at Frascati, north of Rome. He lived on the estate of his patron, Cardinal Ippolito Aldobrandini. Whilst there he took to sketching portraits and caricatures for relaxation.

This girl is too young to be Domenichino's daughter, but may be the child of a relative or friend. She may also, however, be a relative of the Cardinal, whose family issued an informal commission for a family portrait of themselves, including two young children. The painting was left unfinished when one of the Aldobrandini princes fell ill and returned to Rome. This delicate and beautiful portrait may be one of the sketches executed to fulfill this unfinished commission.

Purchased with the help of the Art Fund and National Heritage Memorial Fund.