Aurelio Martelli, Portrait of Giovanni di Ambrogio Sansedoni (1647-1707), oil on canvas, 1665-1670. Private Collection. (Photo Credit: Pandolfini Casa d’Aste).

Between the years 1665-1670, Aurelio Martelli was commissioned to paint a portrait of a young member of the Sienese Sansedoni family: Giovanni di Ambrogio Sansedoni (1647-1707), the future chancellor of the Sapienza University at Rome. In the portrait, the young man is seated with a letter in hand whose writing is now indiscernible. The painting had been passed among the possessions of his son, Rutilio, a Medici courtier, a knight of Malta, and an important artistic patron. After Rutilio’s death, when his estate was auctioned, the portrait resurfaced in the Florentine market. It was bought in 1753 by the grandson of Rutilio, Giovanni di Ottavio Sansedoni, who expressed appreciation of both the image and Martelli’s craftsmanship exclaiming “I was pleased to hear of the purchase made of the portrait of your grandfather, which I believe would have to be from the hand of our Martelli called Mutolo, and if I’m not mistaken, the Treasurer Alessandro had it done”. The painting remained in the Sansedoni collection until April 2015 when it was auctioned at Pandolfini, Florence (lot. 85).