Rafaello Menicucci

Valentin de Boulogne (French, 1591-1632)

Currently on View in H214
Image Licensing

The French painter Valentin de Boulogne was a member of the first generation of Caravaggio followers in Rome. In this, his only known portrait, Valentin provides a superb characterization of an arrogant and rather unsavory character.

Rafaello Menicucci, a jester attached to the court of Pope Urban VIII, was a notorious social climber who was obsessed with the idea of his own fame. Nicknamed "Count," Menicucci holds a drawing of a fortified tower inscribed "Castle of the Count" in his honor.

Indianapolis Museum of Art: Highlights of the Collection (2005)

Probably Cardinal Jules Mazarin [1601-1661], Rome, Italy. {1 } (Unknown dealer, Vienna, Austria); { 2} (Galerie Sanct Lucas, Vienna) by 1937. {3} Benedict Nicolson [1914-1978], London, England; {4} (The Arcade Gallery, London) by 1955; {5} purchased by the John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana, now Indianapolis Museum of Art, in 1956 (56.72) {6}.

{1} Jean-Pierre Cuzin, in his article “Pour Valentin,” Revue de l’art, 28 (1975), p. 54 attributes the painting to Valentin de Boulogne based on an inventory of Mazarin’s collection where it is listed as no. 1270. See “Inventaire inédit dressé après la mort du Cardinal Mazarin en 1661” in Gabriel-Jules de Cosnac, Les Richesses du Palais Mazarin, Paris 1885, p. 342, where the description of the painting matches the IMA’s painting perfectly, although the sitter’s name is misspelled there as Mevicurcio.” The history of the painting's attributions and theories about the identity of the sitter are related in Anthony F. Janson with A. Ian Fraser, Indianapolis Museum of Art: 100 Masterpieces of Painting, Indianapolis, 1980, pp. 68-70 (ill.)
{2 } A letter from Robert Herzig of the Galerie Sanct Lucas, dated 20 July 1961, states “we bought it from another Viennese dealer.” See IMA Historical File (56.72).
{3} See the catalogue, Galerie Sanct Lucas, Ausstellung Italienische Barockmalerei, May - June 1937, cat no. 114 (ill.)
{4} A letter from Nicolson, editor of The Burlington Magazine, dated 23 May 1956, confirming his previous ownership, is retained in the IMA Historical File (56.72).
{5} See the catalogue, The Arcade Gallery, The Flamboyance of Italian Baroque Painting, 17 June - 15 July 1955, cat. no. 6 (ill.)
{6} See IMA Temporary Receipt No. 6274, dated 11 May 1956.

Object Information

Valentin de Boulogne (French, 1591-1632)
creation date
oil on canvas
31-3/4 x 25-7/8 in. (canvas)
40-1/4 x 33-3/4 x 2-3/8 in. (framed)
accession number
credit line
Delavan Smith Fund
Public Domain
European Painting and Sculpture Before 1800

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