Nicolò Zen (1515-1565)
Titian (Pieve di Cadore 1488/90 - Venice 1576)
Art / Oil paintings
1560 - 1565
Oil on canvas
1257 x 968 mm (49 1/2 x 38 1/8 in)
Place of origin
ItalyOrder this image
Kingston Lacy Estate, Dorset (Accredited Museum)
On show at
Described by Vasari, Titian’s biographer, in 1567 as among his later portraits, the sitter of this painting lost his identity for a while until his likeness was recently matched with an inscribed sculptured bust, now in the Museum of Bassano del Grappa. Nicolò Zen was a Savio di terraferma and a Knight (either of which would account for the colour of his robe), a member of the Council of Ten and had served as ambassador to Charles V in 1545. He was also an author, and a friend of the publisher Francesco Marcolini, and of such patrons of Titian as Pietro Aretino and Daniele Barbaro. The portrait was bought by William Bankes (1786–1855) in 1820 from the Marescalchi collection in Bologna as an unknown senator of the Savorgnan family.
Oil painting on canvas, Nicolò Zen (1515-1565) by Titian (Pieve di Cadore 1488/90 - Venice 1576), 1560-65, inscribed on the back of the canvas: CA ZORZI. Bought by William Bankes in Bologna from Marescalchi collection as an unknown senator of the Savorgnan family, its previous owners but the recent discovery of an early copy of the head, inscribed Nicolò Zen, now in the Museum of Bassano del Grappa, has made it possible to identify this as the lost portrait of ' M. Niccolò Zono', mentioned by Vasari in 1567 as among Titian's later portraits.
Painted for Nicolò Zen; his son, Caterino Zen (1544–1532) who died with no male issue; passes directly to his grandson, Costantino Zorzi (1584–1642), son of Lucrezia Zorzi; thence to his daughter, Gabriella Zorzi (m. Taddeo Morosini); thence to their son, Girolamo Morosini (1648–1690); thence to his daughter Lucrezia, who marries Francesco Savorgnan (b.1667); their son, Giancarlo (1695–1732); his son, Conte Marchese Antonio Savorgnan del Torre (1744–1810); thence to his niece, Maria Savorgnan, daughter of Girolamo, and who married Antonius Mor (a jeweller); sold to the lawyer, Galeazzi, who in turn sold it to Ferdinando Marescalchi (1754–1816) in 1812 (Palazzo Marescalchi, Bologna); bought by William Bankes in 1820 from the Marescalchi executors (see his note in the DRO: “The Elder Schiavone [probably Natale Schiavone (1777–1858)] (whom I consider the best colourist now in Venice) tells me that he made, and still has somewhere in his possession, a small sketch or copy of the Marquis of Savorgnan by Titian which is now at Kingston Lacy. It was at the time he copied it in the choice collection of the Avvocato Galeazzi, who sold it with three other pictures (of which one was the Judgement of Solomon by Giorgione, he cannot call to mind the remaining time) to the Conte Marescalchi for 10,000 Francs.”Bought by William John Bankes (1786 - 1855) in Bologna in 1820, from the Marescalchi collection, as an unknown senator of the Savorgnan family, its previous owners.
Kingston Lacy, The Bankes Collection (National Trust)
Marks and inscriptions
CA ZORCI (on the back of the canvas, how)
Makers and roles
Titian (Pieve di Cadore 1488/90 - Venice 1576), artist
In Trust for the Nation, National Gallery, London, 1995 - 1996, no.45 The Treasure Houses of Britain, National Gallery of Art, Washington, USA, 1985 - 1986, no.498 The Genius of Venice 1500-1600, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1983 - 1984, no.122
Preti Hamard 1995 Monica Preti Hamard, ' La qauderia de Ferdinando Marescalchi (1753 - 1816) attraverso il suo carteggio inedito con Francesco Rosapina', Atti e memorie del'Accademia Clementina, Bolgona, nos. 33/4, 1995, pp.181-200 Sponza 1999 S. Sponza, ‘Un dipinto di Tiziano riconosciuto: il ritratto di Nicolò Zono a Kingston Lacy’, in Pittura Veneziana dal quattrocento al Settecento, Venice, 1999, pp.57–62. Pedrocco 2001 Filippo Pedrocco, Titian: The Complete Paintings, London, 2001, p.190, illus.p.190, no.135 Titian, David Jaffé (ed.), National Gallery, 2003