Portrait Of Father Michaelangelo Tamburini of Modena

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An early 18th-century portrait of Father Michaelangelo Tamburini of Modena (1648-1730), the fourteenth general of the Jesuit Order.

Since this painting arrived here, we’ve been busy researching its story and we’ve discovered that it’s a rare depiction of Father Tamburini in around 1700. There’s quite a mystery surrounding it as the inscription along the top refers to him as the fourteenth general but he didn’t become this until 1706, at the age of 58. However, we know from an engraving by Arnold van Westerhout (1651-1725) that around 1706 he had grey hair and looked a little gaunt. The engraving was after a portrait by Antonio Odazzi (1662-1707).

So perhaps the artist painted Father Tamburini in his 50s and then added his title ‘Prep Gen XIV’ later on. This seems to make sense given the way it’s been squashed in.

Michelangelo Tamburini was an Italian Jesuit, General Provost of the Order, from 31 January 1706 until his death in 1730. He fulfilled several important roles within the Order and was a native of Modena, Italy.

Oil on canvas
Size including frame
24” x 19½” / 61cm x 50cm x 1cm
Year of creation
c. 1700
Tatty. There’s a hairline 1cm slit in the canvas around two-thirds of the way down and a nail hole at the top where it’s been fixed to the frame. There are also several areas of paint loss and craquelure. The frame has various scuffs and chips.