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Galeazzo Sanvitale, 1496-1550 (formerly thought to be Christopher Columbus)

Oil paintings

Object connections:

Collection Oil paintings, Fine art
Gallery locationNot on display
PeopleDepiction: Columbus, Christopher
Provenance: Edward Hawke Locker

Object details:

Object ID BHC2627
Description (Updated, January 2017) A copy commissioned by Edward Hawke Locker for the Naval Gallery of Greenwich Hospital and presented in 1838, from an original in the Royal Gallery in Naples then thought to be of Columbus, probably because the Pillars of Hercules appear on the sitter's hat badge, and attributed to Girolamo Mazzola, called Parmigianino. In the late 1850s this was reidentified from documentary references as the condottiere Galeazzo Sanvitale of Fontanellato in the province of Parma, painted in 1524, and since 1894 it has been attributed more firmly to Parmigianino. The collection of weapons and armour with which the sitter is surrounded is undoubtedly more convincing as the attributes of a mercenary soldier than a navigator. Locker obtained it (as Columbus) with one of the celebrated Dutch admiral Maarten Tromp (d. 1653 fighting the English, BHC3062) and another of Vasco da Gama (BHC2702), apparently at his own expense, to make the gallery as representative as practical in terms of early significant figures. The attribution of this copy to Furse is because there is another version of almost the same dimensions (1090 x 790 mm) in the library at Saffron Walden, Essex. Locker had made a tour to Italy in about 1831 and may have seen the original but not necessarily if other copies by Furse, or other hands, were in circulation as Columbus at the time. BHC2661, of Andrea Doria, also copied by Furse from the original by Sebastiano del Piombo in Rome, was presented to the Naval Gallery by the Sardinian Consul General in London in 1843.
Date made 1838

Artist/Maker Mazzola, Girolamo Francesco Maria
Furse, William Henry
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Greenwich Hospital Collection
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Painting: 1093 mm x 820 mm x 24 mm, Unframed
  • Galeazzo Sanvitale, 1496-1550 (formerly thought to be Christopher Columbus) (BHC2627)
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