Pictures and prints

Art collection

The beginner of the painting collection was Angelo degli Oddi (1601-1647): from the accounts book (libro dei conti) by Guercino we have learnt that the patrician of Perugia bought a Lucretia Romanae in1641 and a Diana five years later.

A document that Francesco, Angelo's son, drew up when his father died has informed us that the first group of pictures consisting of 69 paintings and 35 drawings were kept in Perugia and 170 pictures and 35 drawings are in the villa di Montefreddo. Unfortunately, many of these works were lost, but in addition to the two paintings by Guercino, it is also possible to see a St Peter by Andrea Sacchi and three paintings by Bernardino Gagliardi: a St Paul, a St Sebastian and a Rape of Elena.

His son Francesco (1623-1699) greatly enlarged the painting collection and fortunately he had the idea of engraving an “ A” on the back of the frame, if he had inherited some paintings from his father Angelo who bought them, and an "F" to certify his own purchase. Thanks to this expedient, scholars can nowadays identify the pictures that are in our hands and belonging to the first group of collection. It should be noted that Count Angelo showed an interest in Caravaggio’s paintings (as evidenced by a copy of the Baptist in the National Gallery of ancient Art in Rome) and in Seicento landscape paintings (as for example the two branches of Filippo Napoletano), but he also liked to purchase works by local painters of his days, such as Giovanni Antonio Scaramuccia, Gian Domenico Cerrini and the patrician painter Fabio della Corgna.

Francesco, a Soderini’s son, seemed to have strengthened his relations with the Medicean House. The will he made in 1694 refers to 210 paintings and 1268 drawings as indubitable evidence of the enlargement of the collection. The works he purchased show that the most represented artist is Francesco Montanini of whom he had bought 29 works, three of which are still in the collection: a Dream by St Francis, a Breakfast in the wood and a Figure with an ivy garland. Not only he was attracted by the landscape painters but also by the kind of battles (nowadays illustrated by two Battle scenes of Francesco Graziani also called Ciccio Napoletano) and the floral still life (of which there are perhaps a few examples at the hands of Nicolò di Bernardino Felice, a pupil of Agostino Tassi). He also continued purchasing works by local painters of his days, such as the Venus coming out of the sea by Luigi Scaramuccia and the 14 works by Bernardino Gagliardi that he bought.