Raphael - Tommaso Inghirami, about 1510

Raphael (Urbino, 1483 - 1520, Rome)

Tommaso Inghirami, about 1510

Oil on panel, 90 x 62.5 cm (35 7/16 x 24 5/8 in.)


Object details

Accession number



Probably commissioned after 1509 when Tommaso Inghirami was made a canon of Saint Peter’s or possibly around 1510 when he was appointed prefect to the Vatican Library.
Collection of the Inghirami family, Volterra upon Tommaso's death in 1516 and by descent through male heirs.
Luigi Inghirami, the last male heir of the primary line, left the painting to his cousin Giulio Inghirami, as stated in his will dated 20 August 1631 and executed at his death in 1634. He also stipulated that a copy of the painting be made and given to his heir and nephew Fedro Leonori now called 'degli Inghirami'. Giulio Leonori contested the will, demanding the entire estate, and it remained unresolved until his death in 1639. There is no documentary evidence that a copy was made at this time. The painting remained with Fedro Leonori degli Inghirami, his father, Camillo Leonori and step-mother, Verginia Guidi in Volterra.
Purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner from Casa Inghirami in March 1898 for £7,000 ($36,455) through Bernard Berenson (1865-1959), American art historian, and the dealer Emilio Costantini, Florence.


Attachment: A red wax seal on the back at the lower edge, flattened but possibly, according to Hendy, 1931, of a department of state of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany under the Hapsburg dynasty, probably under Ferdinand III (1790–1801/1814–1824) or Leopold II (1824–1859). In reality the seal is extremely difficult to interpret. It appears to present, within a circle, a five-pointed ducal crown surmounting an oblong crest with a single square element at its center, and may well date to the nineteenth century, possibly when the painting was cleaned in 1857 or when it was copied in 1858 in Florence by Ignazio Zorri. (Goldfarb, 1997)
Inscribed in script (next to the seal): Cagnacci

Dimension Notes

Frame: 114.1 x 86.7 cm (44 15/16 x 34 1/8 in.) approx.


Art Exhibition: Mrs. John L. Gardner, 152 Beacon St., Boston. Exh. cat. (Boston, 1899), p. 4, no. 1 (as Raphael, "...the replica of which is in the Pitti, Florence")
Catalogue. Fenway Court. (Boston, 1903), p. 10. (as Raphael, "...painted for Inghirami and has always been in his castle at Volterra. The one in the Pitti Gallery, Florence, is a replica of this.")
Philip Hendy. Catalogue of Exhibited Paintings and Drawings (Boston, 1931), pp. 284-87. (as Raphael, 1512)
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), p. 117. (as Raphael)
Stuart Preston. "Count Tommaso Inghirami" in Alfred M. Frankfurter (ed.). The Gardner Collection (New York, 1946), p. 24. (as Raphael, about 1512)
Sydney Joseph Freedberg. Painting of The High Renaissance in Rome and Florence (Cambridge, 1961), pp. 177-78. (as Raphael)
John Pope-Hennessy. The Portrait in the Renaissance (New York, 1966), pp. 117-19, no. 125. (as Raphael, earlier than the Pitti version)
Rollin Hadley. "Tommaso Inghirami." Fenway Court (May 1967), pp. 41-47, ill. 43. (as Raphael, "...and a version done several years later may be seen in The Pitti Palace in Florence")
George L. Stout. Treasures from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1969), pp. 116-17. (as Raphael)
Philip Hendy. European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1974), pp. 195-96. (as Raphael)
Rollin van N. Hadley. Museums Discovered: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1981), pp. 58-9. (as Raphael, 1511-12)
David Rosand. "The Portrait, the Courtier and Death" in Castiglione: The Ideal and the Real in Renaissance Culture (New Haven, 1983), pp. 91-128, fig 20. (as Raphael)
David Alan Brown. Raphael and America. Exh. cat. (Washington DC: National Gallery of Art, 1983), pp. 49, 56-59, fig. 29. (as Raphael?)
Gloria Chiarini. Raffaello a Firenze. Exh. cat. (Florence: Palazzo Pitti, 1984), pp. 134-43. (as after Raphael)
Jacquelyn Ridge. "The Portrait of Tommaso Inghirami: A Technical Examinations." Fenway Court (1987), pp. 49-55. (as feasibly early 16th century)
Rollin van N. Hadley (ed.). The Letters of Bernard Berenson and Isabella Stewart Gardner 1887-1924 (Boston, 1987), pp. 118-30, 132-33, 137-38, 140, 154, 159, 296, 427. (as Raphael)
Erica E. Hirshler. "Mrs. Gardner's Rival: Susan Cornelia Warren and her Art Collection." Fenway Court (1988), p. 49.
Hilliard Goldfarb. Imaging the Self in Renaissance Italy. Exploring Treasures in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum III. Exh. cat. (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 1992), pp. 18-21. (as Raphael)
Giovanni Batistini. "Il ritratto di Fedra Inghirami, opera di Raffaello: Il vero il falso." Rassegna Volterrana 71-72 (March 1996), pp. 59-75, ill.
Giovanni Batistini. "Raphael's Portrait of Fedra Inghirami." Burlington Magazine 138, 1121 (August 1996), pp. 541-45. (after Raphael, 17th century?)
Hilliard Goldfarb et al. Italian Paintings and Drawings Before 1800 in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Unpublished manuscript. (Boston, 1996-2000). (as Raphael and studio, about 1515-16)
Cynthia Saltzman. Old Masters, New World: America’s Raid on Europe’s Great Pictures (New York: Penguin Books, 2008), pp. 81-82, 92.
Ildikó Fehér. "Károly Pulszky and the Florentine Acquisitions for the Szépm?vészeti Múzeum in Budapest Between 1893 and 1895." Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, Vol. 54, No. 2 (2010), pp. 325-26.
Jürg Meyer zur Capellen. Raphael: A Critical Catalogue of his Paintings, Volume III: The Roman Portraits, ca. 1508–1520 (Münster, 2008), pp. 90-93, no. 69. (after Raphael, 17th century?)

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Lost in thought, Inghirami gazes up and to the right. Raphael may have chosen this angle to diminish the impact of the sitter’s lazy right eye. Seated at a desk with pen in hand, Inghirami copies text from a red leather-bound book into a sheaf of papers called a quire. Even after the advent of the printing press, scholars continued to create lavish, hand-copied editions of rare texts for rich patrons like Pope Julius II, whom Inghirami served as papal librarian.

The red hat and robe identify him as a canon of Saint Peter’s, one of the men responsible for this papal basilica and an office to which Inghirami was appointed in January 1509. This portrait probably commemorates his promotion and possibly memorializes his likely introduction in the same year to Raphael, then working on frescoes in the pope’s apartments of the Vatican Palace.

Gardner bought this painting in 1898. She and Berenson haggled over the price of £15,000 for several months, the collector pleading poverty and the dealer claiming that his offer represented a steal. Far from it. Seizing the moment, a second art dealer stepped in and proposed the same painting to Gardner at half the price, forcing Berenson to concede for £7,000 and leading Isabella’s husband, John L. Gardner, Jr., to believe that Berenson was cheating them.