Attributed to Antiveduto Grammatica (Italian 1571-1626)
Portrait of Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643)
Oil on canvas
100 x 89cm (39¼ x 35 in.)
Baron Kettleby thence by descent
The Reverend W.A. Bedbrough, Kent, by 1909
Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643) was one of the most important composers of keyboard music in the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods. He was born and studied in Ferrara as a child prodigy. He studied under his father, and the court organist, Luzzasco Luzzaschi. He moved to Rome and by 1607 was the organist at Santa Maria in Trastevere. The patronage of Guido Bentivoglio, Archbishop of Rhodes, took Frescobaldi to Flanders where he served as a musician in Bentivoglio's entourage. While he was still in Brussels, Frescobaldi was appointed organist of St Peter's Basilica, Rome, a focal point of power for the Capella Giulia (musical organisation). Further patronage from Enzo Bentivoglio and Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini lead to his most productive period with several collections of keyboard and instrumental pieces appearing in print. In 1628, he was granted leave from Rome and on 22 November he departed for Florence. There he entered the service of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, a member of the Medici family. In 1634 the composer returned to Rome, taking up once again his duties at St Peter's. Frescobaldi died on 1 March 1643. His work influenced Johann Jakob Froberger, J.S. Bach, Henry Purcell and countless other major composers.
Antiveduto Grammatica spent most of his career in Rome. He was apprenticed with the Perugian artist Giovanni Domenico Angelini and gained the nickname "gran Capocciante" because he specialised in painting heads of famous men. In 1591 he set up as an independent artist. He was characterized by Giulio Mancini as most zealous in his profession, Antiveduto began his association with the Accademia di San Luca in 1593. He gained great familiarity with the two protectors of the Academy, Cardinals Federico Borromeo and Francesco Maria Del Monte, and was closely attached to the latter; so much that he was elected to the highest office of the association as "principe" in 1624. Shortly after this, however, he became embroiled in scandal. The machinations of Grammatica's enemy Tommaso Salini over the attempt to sell off the Accademia's altarpiece, thought to be by Raphael, brought about a humiliating retreat, when Cardinal Del Monte intervened to re-establish the constitution of the institution. His fortunes were in a way linked with the Cardinal himself, who was much frowned upon by the Barberini, and his death preceded that of Del Monte by four months, in April 1626.
His works are exhibited in numerou s public collections, including the State Hermitage Museum - St Petersburg, the Museo Nacional del Prado - Madrid, the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, the Muzeul Naţional Brukenthal - Sibiu/Hermannstadt, Romania, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum - Glasgow, and the Maison D'Art Gallery, Monaco.