Prints and Drawings
Artist: Gianlorenzo Bernini, Italian, active Rome, 1598–1680

Portrait of Cardinal Sforza Pallavicino


Red chalk on buff paper

sheet: 37.9 × 22.2 cm (14 15/16 × 8 3/4 in.)
Egmont Collection, Yale Library Transfer
Cardinal Pallavicino was at the very center of the artistic and literary circles of seventeenth-century Rome. A nobleman who joined the Jesuits, he was the author of poems, plays, and theological works. As a major figure in the papal court, he was called upon to devise artistic programs, including that for one of the ceilings of the Palazzo Barberini, and he would have been close to Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the preeminent sculptor and architect for the popes of Baroque Rome. Pallavicino played a key role in the negotiations that led to Bernini’s trip to France in 1665, and after Bernini’s return to Rome, Hugues de Lionne, a former French minister to the papal court, requested a portrait of Pallavicino. The result was this drawing, an intimate psychological portrayal in the simple, direct medium of red chalk. The faded condition of the drawing probably results from its having been displayed by Lionne for many years.
17th century
Works on Paper - Drawings and Watercolors

Perhaps the collection of Hughues de Lionne; John Percival, first Earl of Egmont (1683-1748); John T. Graves; Robert Hoe (sale New York, Anderson Auction Company, April 15-19, 1912, Library of Robert Hoe, Part III, A-K, no. 949); Yale University Library (Anonymous Donor, 1957)


Suzanne Boorsch and John J. Marciari, Master Drawings from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2006), 17, 140, 170–72, no. 55, ill.

Christopher M. S. Johns, The Holy Name: Art of the Gesù, Bernini and His Age, ed. Linda Wolk-Simon (Philadelphia: Saint Joseph’s University Press, 2018), 470–71, no. 29.

Alvin L. Clark Jr., Vision and Continuity: Italian Drawings from the Permanent Collection 1530–1780, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1991), 27, no. 42.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.